Updated: May 1, 2022
A First-Generation American Explains the Holy Month of Ramadan & Eid
By Malika Burieva
The holy month of Ramadan just recently took place, a month-long religious journey that consists of fasting and worship. Ramadan is observed by 1.8 billion Muslims and this year, Ramadan fell during the month of April. According to the lunar Islamic calendar, Ramadan commences with the arrival of the crescent moon on April 2 and concludes on May 2. The act of fasting during Ramadan consists of withdrawing from any meal, drink or substance use for about 15 hours a day. Meals take place from Suhoor (pre-dawn) to Iftar (dusk). A fast is both open and broken through the consumption of a date and water. Before dawn Suhoor, a prayer (called Fajr) must be prayed. Before dusk Iftar, a prayer (called Maghrib) must be prayed.
Room 020 in the lower level of Earle Hall was open all month for fasting students, faculty and staff. They were encouraged to join the Suhoor meal and Iftar meal.
Taraweeh Prayer in Times Square, Manhattan, NY. (Photo: The Economic Times).
Ramadan does not only consist of fasting and worship. Other events are in play, like giving back to the less fortunate (the act of Sadaqah), reciting the holy book of Qur'an, practicing self-discipline and control, and encouraging unity are common practices. Ramadan is a month of forgiveness, goodness, respect and charity.
My family loves Ramadan. For all Muslims, it is a time of repentance and giving back. However, we do not fast as often as we should. We focus our time on reading the Qur'an, praying, giving Sadaqah, and inviting others for our annual Iftar dinner. Our background is Uzbek-Turkmen, my mother being Uzbek while my father is Turkmen, both being from the country of Uzbekistan located in Central Asia. For the longest time, it was under the Soviet Union, from 1921 to 1991. Communism was the main ideology of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan being a country that fell under this political ideology. Unfortunately, with communism, religion does not intersect well. With the majority of Central Asia identifying with Islam, Muslims who observed Ramadan had to practice in secret or not practice at all. After 30 years of Uzbekistan’s independence and the fall of the Soviet Union, my post-soviet parents are just now attempting to revive their religious affiliation, along with myself, as their first-generation American daughter.
“Ramadan Mubarak” means Blessed Ramadan in Arabic, a greeting often used to wish a Muslim a “happy Ramadan.” (Photo: iStock).
Saira Amar, a Pakistani-American senior at Adelphi University majoring in international relations, shared her personal experiences of the holy month.
“I love Ramadan so much, but I personally always experienced the month during the summer when there was no school,” she said. “This is the first year that I’m experiencing it during a semester. I’m graduating, so a lot of pressure has taken over. I’ve been struggling to juggle my schoolwork, work life and caffeine withdrawal. It’s been a struggle to fast, however, it’s about the [tenth] day and it’s been getting better. Sometimes, after I break my fast, though, it depends on how much energy I have. I go to the mosque, hang out with my friends, have ice cream with them or go to the bodega.”
The tenth day Amar referred to is the tenth day of Ramadan in which she felt as though she was getting used to the feeling of fasting again. Muslims all over the world have unfamiliarity when fasting, although it is a yearly occurrence. A balance of their work life, social life and spiritual life come into play during this time of year and they tend to juggle with it. Though, with time, their bodies become used to the feeling of a spiritual cleanse of their soul. After all, fasting is the act of bettering one’s self.
“Eid Mubarak'' means “blessed celebration” in Arabic indicating a “happy Eid.” (Photo: eidulfitr2022.com).
My overall experience with the holy month of Ramadan consisted of being at peace with myself, my family and others around me. I tend to be happier and more satisfied during this season knowing that it is a peaceful time where every Muslim in the world is bettering themselves.
Eid al-Fitr, which takes place on May 2, is the celebration that takes place after Ramadan. It is the grand feast that concludes the holy month with its last Iftar of the year taking place. It is a day of family and friends receiving gifts, feasting and overall happiness. It’s not to be confused with Eid al-Adha, which takes place in July 2022.
Eid Mubarak to all that are celebrating!