I make my way to the kitchen, eyes barely open. I then spend an entire seven minutes tossing up between a toasted cheese sandwich and the leftover sweets from the previous night. And so, another day in the month of Ramadan has begun for me. Ramadan is the holiest of all months in the Islamic Calendar, an opportunity for all Muslims to embrace Islam as a community.
For so many years now, Ramadan has been a part of my life and so the prospect of Ramadan as a high school student is not a particularly daunting one. In fact, Ramadan as “a month of blessing” is a time I look forward to. Sharing in the experience with fellow Muslims highlights the focus Islam places on the notion of “community”.
Although Ramadan is most certainly looked forward to, the month does pose certain difficulties for me as a student. Perhaps the greatest difficulty is the fact that the month can be physically demanding.
Fasting and taking on a full school workload is at times challenging. However, such a challenge has in fact instilled in me a more structured work ethic.
I have learned to counter the physical demands of the month with an organized study program, for instance, ensuring all of my schooling commitments have been addressed before Iftar (perhaps because I know that after finally breaking fast and eating way too many sweets, I will not feel particularly inclined to do any study!) As the HSC draws ever so close, knowing that in past years Ramadan has not affected my academic performance is of great comfort.
The month of Ramadan is also unique in that it is a time where my fellow non-Muslim peers develop a keen interest in Islam. Many are interested in understanding the Islamic requirement of fasting for one month of the year. This enables me to teach more people about Islam. Rather than the experience of Ramadan being an alienating one, I can take advantage of the opportunity to teach more people about my faith.
As a student, Ramadan is the month where the days seem to pass by faster. Family ties become stronger and a general sense of goodwill is embraced by all. A month of reflection and personal growth, Ramadan is a time to take a step back and just consider life in “the bigger picture”.