x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Our senses become heightened and the spirit is elevated: diary

Everyday people reflect on what Ramadan means to them

With the abstinence from food and water comes a recollection of sweet memories gathered from the earliest moments of childhood.

Ramadan is a record of life felt and experienced differently and stored in human history as a unique endeavour of restoration.

The commotion of these lifelong sensations and yearnings starts with the close approaching of the great month and increases day by day, from the mid of Shaban night celebration until Ramadan Eve, when Quran recitation in the taraweeh prayers fills the night air.

On this night everyone experiences the peak of these overwhelming feelings recollected through time.

The human senses begin to yearn for the sweet dream that will soon come true.

Ramadan is a month that evokes all that is great and small. It evokes the greatness of Islamic culture and the simplicity and innocence of childhood memories.

Every year the arrival of Ramadan is accompanied by this overwhelming feeling of yearning for the many Ramadans one has lived through and a strong desire to experience the past again.

As a child, Ramadan is a month of everyday family festival - the waiting to break the fast cannon-blow is beyond description. The best food, drinks and sweets are offered, colourful and bright lights turn nights to days, family share stories and songs and talks of wisdom are engraved forever in memory.

To a carefree child who is not yet fasting, Ramadan is a month of happiness and celebration.

As an adult, Ramadan is even morethan a daily festival - it is a month of spirit and body rejuvenation.

In Ramadan the senses become very strong. Everything has a special smell. During the day the air smells different from the night - the night feels more refreshing, whether you are walking to the mosque, staying on your balcony or standing at your window.

The way you smell food is different from the rest of the year. This is why the taste is also very strong during Ramadan, because after a day of abstinence everything is going to taste super delicious.

The enjoyment of the fulfilment of these senses dig inside one's subconscious and results in sweet yearning for those moments to repeat.

Moreover, due to the fact the body's senses are used to the maximum in this month, the body, itself, physically undergoes a purifying rejuvenation.

More important than physical rejuvenation is the elevation of the spirit. Ramadan is an annual spiritual rejuvenation. It is a month of sensitivity, compassion and emotional tenderness more than any time of the year.

Everything is conceived in a deeper, more humanistic perspective.

Empathy is utmost during this month. The desire to experience the highest levels of self-purification is also elevated.

More than anything is the divine moments one experiences in this month as a result of staying up late at night in meditation and reading and chanting the Quran.

This in itself is a form of self-reflection, as a Muslim's main purpose in life is to develop the sublime relationship between him/herself and his/her creator.

Moments of tears and love and communion with Allah are recollected in peace and tranquility. It is for these moments that Ramadan is unforgettable and awaited for every year.

 

Khalid Al Subaihi, 33, is a film-maker from Abu Dhabi.