Sometime back it was all about kill or be killed and people with varying believes had difficulty leaving together. Thankfully, today things are beginning to change. People are beginning to realize religion is only but a matter of perspective.
If you happened to be born in a Christian home, you are most likely to grow up a Christian and likewise Islam or Hinduism or any other religious believe. This is because, you are fed with the doctrines that makes you see things in the perspective of your religious believes hence it becomes difficult to believe in anything else.
So if religion is mostly decided by birth, why then do we have to hate each other for it? Is it not just the same as a white hating on black and the vice versa all because of color? Knowing very well that no one had a choice in what color of skin they should have.
Now it is abundantly clear that what we need is tolerance and mutual respect for each other’s believes.
I am a Muslim but I don’t believe heaven waits for only those who congregate. Allah says in almost every part of the Qur’an that He is the most Just. He also tells us that it is not your prayer or good deeds that will necessarily get you to heaven but His ultimate forgiveness.
Ramadan is a period lasting between 29 and 30 days in the lunar calendar and it is the period when able Muslims stay clear off food or water or any supplements during the day. They also refrain from sexual activity of all kind during the day.
This year’s observance started off today as the Islamic leadership in Saudi-Arabia announced on Tuesday that the crescent was not sighted.
It may be confusing for you how people start it on different days. The issue is that the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle and not the Gregorian one. This makes it difficult to have a prepared timeline for everyone since the number of days of each month can vary between 29 and 30 in an unpredictable fashion.
If the crescent is sighted on the 29th of Shawwal which is the month before Ramadan then Ramadan starts on the next day. Else, it starts the day after whether the crescent is sighted or not.
During this period Muslims believe the devils are restricted hence the strength of temptation to do bad is on the minimum. Most of the day is spent reading the Qur’an and praying.
During this period Muslims are encouraged to increase their good deeds and refrain from the bad ones. Giving charity, helping others, visiting the sick and the likes of it is encouraged as good deeds get rewarded in two folds or more during this period.
How can Christians leaving with Muslims help them observe the period?
Well, this is not to disturb you or compel you to do things that you don’t like but if you really want to be helpful to your Muslim neighbors during this month do the following to the best of your ability.
Do not play loud music especially during the day: Music is not encouraged in Islam and most devoted Muslims will want to avoid music during this period so instead of your usual 100% volume, you can calm it down a bit . For the ladies, please dress modestly: This is not to say you have to wear Hijab and cover your hair but try to avoid the bare back and short dresses. This will help your Muslim brothers avoid lusting which can spoil their fast especially during the day. So If you are coming out please be mindful of this.
Don’t invite them for meals if you know they are fasting. Well, this may be a mild precaution but it can be irritating to people and they may think you are making fun of them which is not a good element of tolerance. For guys, don’t play hard with your Muslim female friends. Sometimes I know as guys we play so much with ladies in ways that can be classified as romantic. The girl may yield because of respect for you even though she is fasting and this can spoil her fast. Please show them respect by avoiding such interactions during this period.
Understand if your Muslim friend is keeping away during this period. It may not be about you but just so they can concentrate on their worship. Do allow them the space and show understanding.
These are just a few of the things you can do to help your Muslim friends observe the period well enough. They may be things that I have not mentioned so just try to be subtle and supportive.
If you do this, your Muslim friend will see how supportive you are and they will show respect when you also need it.
To all my fellow Muslims, I wish you a blessed Ramadan, May your Ibadah be accepted and your mistakes forgiven. Ameen!!
To the rest of the world I wish you peace and joy. Thanks for your attention and have a lovey period!