5 Reasons Why Ramadan Is So Special To Me

5 Reasons Why Ramadan Is So Special To Me

It is a time for self-improvement.
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Ramadan is a very special time of the year for Muslims. It is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which is based on the lunar cycle. During Ramadan, Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset. This often begets the questions, “Why do Muslims enjoy it?” While I cannot answer on the behalf of other Muslims, I can tell why I love this month so much.

1. It is a time for self-improvement.

While self-improvement should never be set aside for one time of the year, it is different in Ramadan. Muslims believe that during this month the gates of Heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed. Therefore, it is easier to get rid of your vices and focus on purifying your soul of actions throughout the year that have negatively impacted your habits. During Ramadan, I able to reflect upon my predicaments and ask questions necessary to become a better version of myself.

2. It is a time to get closer to God

A lot of the reflection done in this month is during prayers and the recitation of the Holy Book, the Qur’an. When you’re fasting, you’re able to access a more vulnerable part of yourself. I find myself often thinking about those who are less fortunate than myself, and it makes me more grateful to God. I look forward to the times when I am praying and feel a special connection where I am able to express my fears and hopes. It feels great to know that no matter what condition I am in, I can rely on the power of prayer to feel better.

3. There is unity among the community.


During Ramadan, there is a sense of stronger connection within the Muslim community. It is not surprising to see many of my Muslim friends be awake till 5 in the morning to eat with their families and pray at the sunrise. People understand what others are going through when they are fasting. The mosque is usually more crowded during Ramadan as well. To see so many Muslims of different races and ethnicities all gathered under one roof just to hear the word of God is both empowering and beautiful to watch.

4. Iftaar.

Can’t appreciate Ramadan without appreciating the amazing food you get to eat when you break your fast. Breaking the fast with family and often friends is an amazing feeling. The feasts are made in good quantities with all members of the family coming together to contribute. I also thoroughly enjoy getting to make Iftaar next to my mom, learning all the ways she makes the foods that everyone loves.

5. Eid!

After a month of fasting, the celebration of Eid-al-Fitr is the best part about Ramadan. Muslims wear new clothes and rejoice with family and friends. Kids often receive money called Eidi from their elders. I especially enjoy getting henna done on my hands for this holiday. I love seeing everyone celebrating with their loved ones and the community as well. The prayers for Eid are always great since I get to see hundreds and hundreds of Muslims within the community whom I hadn’t seen before. It is a beautiful show of love and unity.

Cover Image Credit: About Islam

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything
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They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.


Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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I Went Abroad To 'Find Myself' But To My Surprise, I Was So Wrong

Finding yourself is like a Jenga tower and my hands shake too much.

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When studying abroad, I feel like you either go to find yourself or you soon realize you will not return the same person you were before.

Whether it was purposeful or completely by accident, being abroad changes the deepest parts of you that you never realized could be changed. When we are home, we are a solid Jenga tower where everything fits in place as it should. Then as you leave your comfort zone, you have to take away some old pieces and rearrange things to better suit your new environment.

Some pieces are harder to remove and some glide out of place so easily, you question why they were there in the first place. All the while, you feel a bit more unsteady and you don't look up to realize you've grown taller than you ever were before.

Morocco is a beautiful country that I love very much. I thought I knew the reality of Morocco and what I was getting myself into. So many parts of this journey have been beautiful and amazing but there are things I haven't shared in the light of social media that I have been struggling with.

The main thing I am struggling with are the rules in Morocco.

You can walk in the middle of the highway, but you have three pairs of house shoes and rules on when and where to wear those shoes. I thought I always dressed modestly but I learned very quickly that I do not. I have struggled to find the balance between being modest enough, but not too modest to wear a hijab because that is something I should not do.

I have felt like there is this list of rules floating above my head that I can't reach to know what they are, so I keep breaking all of them.

I have really felt like I have lost my identity.

I thought coming to Morocco would allow me to find myself, but I am told when to eat, what to eat, how much to eat, what to wear, how many layers to wear, when to sleep, how long to sleep, what emotions I am allowed to feel, when I am allowed to feel them, how I am allowed to show my feelings, and so on.

What is the line between being culturally sensitive and being culturally puppeted?

I have cried and prayed so much. Not once have I wished to go home. Not once have I questioned God's plan. He has told me that my identity is not found in what rules I follow and which I break. My identity is not found in what I wear or how I wear it. My identity is not found in anything I do or don't do. My identity is found in Him alone.

That hasn't changed anyone around me, but it has made me stronger. It has given me an image of the plan God has for me. He gave me the image of a Jenga tower. Parts of me have to be taken away, worked on and put back in a new place in order for me to grow. While I might wobble and feel unsteady, God has a steady hand. He will not move too many pieces so that I fall over.

But even if my Jenga tower falls and everything I am crashes down, He will build me up again.

When you are finding yourself, if you really want to change, it is going to be hard, you are going to be unsteady at times and things will get messy. I have definitely seen how I place my identity in the hands of those around me. I went around the world looking for myself only to see how silly it is because I am found in Christ.

You can tell me how to dress and how to feel but that is not who I am. I am a child of God and He is pleased. Anything beyond that is man-made.

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