What is Ramadan?

A chance to renew, re-evaluate, cleanse and gain clarity, that’s what many Muslims at the Islamic Center of Naperville look forward to during the month of Ramadan.

“Ramadan is a month of celebration. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with God, it’s and opportunity to remind ourselves what is really important in life. Sometimes in life we get so caught up in other things and Ramadan is a time to take a step back and see where am I going, what am I doing, what is my purpose in life, where am I headed, am I making myself a better person and the world a better place?’ If not, then how do I do that,” said Community Leader at the Islamic Center of Naperville, Rizwan Ali

Fasting throughout Ramadan is one of the five pillars of the Muslim faith. The hours of 3:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night are put aside for fasting, but not just from food and drinks, during this time Muslims also refrain from negative behaviors.

“I definitely think it’s a really great way to break bad habits that you have, like this month I wanted to make sure I didn’t have any caffeine so I want to break my dependency on that. Then, my husband and I said that we wouldn’t say anything rude for the month and that will help us out, too. So whatever goals you have you incorporate that into the month as well, and after the 30 days it becomes habit,” said Nida Rahman, a Member at the Islamic Center of Naperville.

Once dusk falls, Muslim families gather for Iftar – to reflect on their goals while enjoying a meal together.

But there is more than good deeds and refraining from the negative that goes into the celebration, it’s a chance to remind Muslims of their devotion to the faith by how they treat others.

“When I interact with my children, with my spouse, with members of my community, with my neighbors, but it’s not only how I treat them, its about knowing that God sees how I treat them and I will be held accountable for how I treat them. So I have to be better in every aspect of life and Ramadan reminds me of this responsibility and gives me the chance to do so,” said Ali.

Following the month long of fasting and good works is a celebration but for Nida, that’s a bittersweet moment.

“At the end of Ramadan I definitely feel sad. Because it’s a whole month where you get to see everyone and see them at night when you go in for prayer, you become a lot better at reading the Kuran, because you’ve been practicing for a whole month. So it’s a little sad that it’s ending but it’s also really great because there is a big celebration at the end and that’s Eid, so everyone participates in that and it’s a lot of fun,” said Rahman.

Eid is the end cap to the month of Ramadan, Muslims gather to give gifts, and celebrate the end of their fast with a new outlook for the year ahead.

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