x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Fasting helps purify my heart and soul

Ramadan is very special to me because the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed during this month. During Ramadan, I make peace with Allah and my inner self.

Ramadan is a spiritual month in which we give more than we take and most importantly strengthen our bond with Allah.

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. Thus, it is an obligation to fast by abstaining from food and several other things. Ramadan is very special to me because the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed during this month. During Ramadan, I make peace with Allah and my inner self.

Fasting during the day helps redirect my heart towards increasing my good deeds, purifying my soul, and feeling for the poor.

This reminds me of my duty to donate food and clothes. In addition, it is my responsibility to teach and encourage the children in my family to fast and explain to them the importance of the holy month.

I remember as a child how the idea of fasting was so exciting, and I can see how my younger brother and the children in our family were curious and excited about it too.

Waking up for Fajr prayer is so hard for me during the year. However, in Ramadan, it is so beautiful listening to the call to prayer.

Iftar takes place at my aunt's house where all my brothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins gather to break our fast by eating dates and drinking water. After our meal, we gather for coffee and watch a Ramadan TV series - usually a comedy that suits all family - such as Freej, until taraweeh prayer time.

My family is usually busy all year and we tend to have different schedules, so we barely sit for a proper family lunch. However, Ramadan connects the family for the entire month. It strengthens our bonds with our extended family, even the ones in different emirates.

No one in my family misses iftar and I really enjoy the bond my family creates during Ramadan. In addition, working hours are shorter so we come back home early and spend more time reading the Quran and bonding with our family.

Fasting during Ramadan reshaped my personality by teaching me patience and empathy with the poor. Ramadan is a month filled with joy and happiness because a Muslim strengthens his/her bond with Allah and shares special moments with their family.

* Maryam Al Naqbi, from Abu Dhabi, is a mass communication student at the American University in Sharjah.