Updated: Jun 2, 2019
The observance of Ramadhan, one of the five pillars of Islam, is performed every ninth month of the Islamic calendar which normally lasts for 30 days depending on the sighting of the moon in which Muslims will be having their fasting from dawn until sunset, refraining from food, drink, sexual relations and others. After sunset and before sunrise, eating and drinking is allowed.
It is the time of the year wherein your desires will be put to the test, controlling yourself from those you are not allowed to do and those that should be done.
Islam was introduced when I was eight years old. After that time, my family and I became Catholics. We were reverted to Islam as Filipinos say, “Balik Islam,” but I did not practice its teachings immediately including the observance of Ramadhan. When I started this practice, significant adjustments were needed like going to school knowing that I will be interacting with my classmates, them, having snacks during break time. At the same time, I must bear the hot weather since drinking will break my fast. Also, questions were asked why I was not eating or drinking and during that time, I did not have enough knowledge about Islam and Ramadhan. My classmates also teased me to eat saying my mother cannot see me and she will not know anything about it. Admittedly, there were times that I ate and took a drink in school. As days passed by, my body was able to adjust and sometimes, I would just feel that I was not hungry or thirsty anymore. However, there were still instances when I simply struggle with the thirst since I can bear with the hunger but the thirst was a different story. Experiencing this for the first time, I thought fasting was just basically not drinking and not eating and there’s nothing more to it.
As years have gone by with the consistent annual observation of Ramadhan and more knowledge of Islamic teachings in the Quran, I realized that there’s more to this custom. It is not merely refraining from eating and drinking but a deeper meaning to it goes to show that Ramadhan is a spiritual reflection. It will make you aware of how other people in the world feel when they do not have anything to eat and drink. It will open our consciousness that we should be thankful for what we have because others do not have anything. It is the time of the year wherein your desires will be put to the test, controlling yourself from those you are not allowed to do and those that should be done. Aside from fasting, another part of this tradition is to gain more wisdom about Islam, understanding profoundly the teachings in the Quran according to ALLAH’s messengers (prophets) while applying these insights to one's daily life along with the other pillars of the religion: prayer, almsgiving, pilgrimage and profession of faith.