Many college students will be celebrating Ramadan this year. But many students don't really know what is Ramadan, or may not have heard about it. Being one of the college students that celebrate Ramadan, I would like to share with you what it is and its significance. Here are the five most important things to know about Ramadan, one of Islam's five pillars:
1. It's the month of fasting for Muslims
Everyone who is able to is required to fast from food and drink from dawn to dark, and from sexual activity. Part of the purpose of this is to understand and empathize with the less fortunate. Many people around the world can't afford a meal and go to sleep hungry. We won't go to sleep hungry, but this at least gives us a sense of the suffering some people go through. It's not easy to understand what others go through without feeling it, at least for a short while. It's a time when we're supposed to be generous and give to others as well.
2. It's not only food and drinks which we're supposed to fast from.
We are supposed to fast or refrain from cursing and any bad behavior toward others. This practice of self-discipline is supposed to make us better people and bring us closer to our creator. We should also be more in touch with our spiritual side because worship and prayers during this month reap greater rewards. The hope is that getting into a habit of good behavior for this month will carry on throughout the rest of the year.
3. The month comes at different times each year.
Ramadan is based on a lunar calendar, where the year is about two weeks shorter than the Gregorian calendar. As a result, Ramadan goes through the seasons, each year starting two weeks earlier than the previous. The significance of that is that this affects the length of the day, so during the summer the days are longer making fasting a little harder. But it becomes easier in the shorter days of the winter. Two years ago Ramadan came during the longest days of the year, which was more challenging especially for people living in very Northern parts of the Earth. We're lucky this year that Ramadan started during the break between the spring and summer semesters, making it a little easier to start with.
4. Fasting is not as hard as others might think.
Speaking of easier, fasting all day is surprisingly not that difficult. It might be easier for me because I started from a young age, but anyone can do it with a little practice. The first couple of days are hard, but afterward, it becomes easier. I usually feel lighter and even sometimes feel more energetic during the day when I'm fasting.
5. Fasting is good for your health.
Numerous studies have shown that fasting has many health benefits. Ranging from improving insulin resistance to helping prevent heart disease and reducing weight. Here's an article that discusses eight scientifically proven benefits of fasting. Risks are minimal for healthy people, mostly dehydration which can be avoided for the most part by drinking enough water when you're not fasting. I believe that God prescribed this for us and since God is our creator then surely He knows what's good for us. Whatever you believe in you might want to try out fasting to improve your health!
If you have any questions you can drop a comment. I would love to hear from you!