Muslim families around the whole world are excitedly preparing for the most blessed month: Ramadan! The month of Ramadan will begin in the middle of April this year. The Islamic calendar is based on lunar months and on the 9th lunar month is when Ramadan begins. For Muslims around the world, this is a most blessed and holy month. The Quran, or holy book for Muslims, was revealed within this month. As a mom, this time of year is especially important to me because I get to share so many wonderful traditions and Islamic teachings that my kids build on every year.
What is Ramadan?
During Ramadan, all Muslims are obliged to fast daily from sunrise until sunset with certain exceptions such as young kids, pregnant women, and those who are elderly or sick. Fasting for Muslims means no food or even water during the whole day. This is a way to practice patience and to humble ourselves for the sake of God. We reflect on how lucky we are to have food at all times unlike many others in the world. At night after a scrumptious “iftaar” (fast-breaking meal) we all participate in extra special prayers as a family and a community. We are also intentionally mindful of what we say, do, and how we behave. This month is meant as a reset, to realize how lucky we are for all the blessings we have and make intentions to be kinder and more virtuous.
These are 5 things that I love to teach my kids about during Ramadan!
Ramadan is all about kindness and good deeds.
During this month we are encouraged to be extra wary of how we behave so I tell my kids to be extra kind and gentle with each other. The angels are watching and they are making sure everyone is on their best behavior! This makes for a fantastically peaceful time all moms appreciate! We have a 30 Days of Ramadan Calendar in which every day requires a special good deed such as picking out a toy to donate or helping out with the dishes in order to get a treat for the day. They realize how the smallest good deeds can make a huge difference.
2. Ramadan is a time for sharing and caring.
During this month we share a lot of goodies, treats, and presents with our family and friends; we also make sure that to give back to the community. In years past, when I was younger, I volunteered at local food banks or shelters during Ramadan. Since my kids are still young, we make and donate goody bags to refugee kids in the area. This is a great way to introduce public service to kids!
3. Ramadan means extra special prayers, not just for yourself.
In this holy month, Muslims believe that everything is 70x more impactful. Prayer is so powerful and I want to make sure my kids fall in love with it. However, I know my kids think prayer is just a medium to ask for things they want; I want to help them see that they should include everyone in their prayers. Muslims want peace for all.
4. Ramadan is about being thankful.
Since fasting is central Ramadan, it is natural for kids to ask why refraining from eating is important. I explain to them that when we do not eat, we realize how those who do not have food feel. We learn to be thankful to God for blessing us with food and everything we have.
5. Ramadan is a time to share our faith with others.
Sharing treats, gifts, and food with our neighbors, classmates, etc., is something we look forward to the most! We would love for more people to understand that Islam is a religion of love and peace and everyone is important to us, regardless of their religion. This holiday is very much like all other holidays: a way to celebrate family, community, peace, and blessings with each other.
Needless to say, we can only hope to mend the perception Islam has in this world by sharing our love and traditions with everyone. Hope you all have a blessed month!