What Ramadan means to me


Photo by: Yusra Waris

News Editor Yusra Waris, holds up her hands for prayer.

One more month, two more weeks, one more day. I’ve been anticipating for Ramadan to start the moment it ended. Although fasting for around 14 hours a day can be physically draining, I’ve never felt so energetic and motivated to be productive and be a part of something impactful.

Ramadan, while celebrated to commemorate when the Quran (Islamic holy book) was revealed to Prophet Muhammad, for me, is a time of self revelation. By being away from food and water, by getting rid of online distractions, by praying and getting closer to my faith, I feel enlightened, unstoppable. During this time, by giving up bad habits and giving back to the community, I feel like I get closer to becoming what I feel is an ideal person.

Like most Muslim children, I began observing these fasts and attending Taraweeh (nightly recitation of the Quran) around middle school. For me, it was just for fun, just because I wanted to participate with my parents and act like I was a grown up. Of course, I knew the sanctity behind this month, but I didn’t truly understand it until after middle school.  

Before I realized the meaning about a true fast, I’d spend most of my day sleeping and waiting for sunset so I could eat again. Frightened by the thought of getting too hungry made me lazy, I was so dependent on my snack binges that I couldn’t bring myself to be involved in anything else during that time. Now, with my responsibility to organize iftar (meal eaten after sunset) at my mosque while also taking part in charity and other community services, I’ve grown a lot stronger.

By being occupied with things that are for the good for the community and me, there was not a time where I felt tired. I felt so empowered and motivated by the fact that I was fasting, that it made me perform better, behave better and feel better.

Being able to volunteer at the mosque and be a helping hand to the Muslim community that came to pray and break the fast together is one thing that I’ve always been proud of. By even doing the small tasks of setting up the sitting area, passing out dates, praying and then quickly coming back to clean up and serve dinner, I’ve felt so good about myself. By seeing young children being brought up in this charitable community we’ve created, I have hope for the future of our society.

And being able to do it alongside my best friends and family makes this feeling, this energy, get even stronger. Together we pray, fast, become better people and get closer; it’s more than perfect.

Since this school year has been exceptionally stressful and tiring for me, I’m really grateful that I get to end it by the start of Ramadan. At school, I’m just an average student: I freak out about grades and spend nights cramming instead of sleeping. But during Ramadan, I’m more than just a student. I am someone that I am proud of: someone selfless, someone who stays up praying for peace and happiness. During Ramadan, I am me, I have the power to make a positive difference.