Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of the Muslim faith. This year, in most of the Muslim world, it started on May 17.
Despite previous attempts by jihadists to transform the season of religious serenity into a pretext for bloodshed and terror, the holy month remains a time of spirituality and good deeds. It is also a month when mosques in many parts of Europe reach out to non-Muslim communities in order to dispel stereotypes and improve inter-faith relations.
Ramadan is a month of empathy for the poor and the hungry. Today, in many parts of the Arab Muslim world and its diaspora, Muslims strive to make Ramadan a month of generosity. All across the region, philanthropic projects compete to cater for the poor and the needy. Tents and outdoor restaurants are set up by governments and charities for Iftar, the sunset meal at which the fast is broken.
In a time of fraying family ties across the region, Ramadan is also a month for relatives to bond and reconnect across generational and geographic divides.
In many ways, Ramadan illustrates moderate Islam’s compromise between spirituality and the exuberance of life. It is a month of piety but also of vibrant cultural activity and spontaneous festivity.
Ramadan Mubarak to all.