“And now for something completely different…”
One of the great things about living in Canada is that we work along side people of every faith and we learn from their life’s journey. Oddly enough, it wasn’t until recently that I found myself working with several people from Iran and Pakistan. I was fascinated to learn about one of the Muslim customs called Ramadan. The Wikipedia describes Ramadan as one of the five pillars of Islam called Sawm. Wikipedia says that during Sawm:
Muslims are prohibited from eating, drinking and engaging in conjugal sexual relationships from dawn (fajr) to sunset (maghrib). Whilst fasting, Muslims are also obliged to abstain from smoking and other comforts such as chewing gum. Fasting is essentially an attempt to seek nearness to Allah and increase one’s piety. One of the remote aims of fasting is to empathize with those less fortunate members of society who do not always have food and drink readily available. One must also try to avoid cursing and thinking evil thoughts, with the aim of controlling the tongue and temper during the fasting hours. Fasting is also viewed as a means of controlling one’s desires (of food, drink and sex) and focusing more on devoting oneself to God.
Sawm also carries a significant spiritual meaning. It teaches one the principle of love: because when one observes fasting, it is done out of deep love for God and to learn self-restraint.
The object of this post is not to talk about something that I know very little about, but rather to celebrate the many cultural differences that exist in Canada. This particular difference requires commitment, self control and a discipline that many of us in Canada have never tested. It allows the participants to experience what it is like for people who have very little and helps close the gap between “the haves” and “the havenots”.
Ramadan ends on Wednesday with a feast called “Eid al-Fitr”. I just wanted to wish all of my Muslim friends “Eid Saeed!”