Day 27 – Ramadan: What Does it Mean to Muslims | By Javed Akbar, Pickering Islamic Centre

By Javed Akbar, Pickering Islamic Centre

Ramadan is a month eagerly awaited by Muslims around the world.

It was during this month that the Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). It’s a month of initiation that systematically dismantles egotism and induces sympathy for the sufferings of the weak and the vulnerable. It generously grants us the time and space to understand what drives us, analyze our emotional blocks, wounds and anxieties and master them.

The change is not something physical, but rather an inner atmospheric change. When you really fast, you live without feeling physically full and spend the month trying to become spiritually full. You want to live reflectively, without having to deal with unimportant frills. In Ramadan you strive to control what you do and how you spend your time rather than just going with the flow. Ramadan is when you focus on your real, inner self.

It’s a month of abrupt changes and challenges; this is true here more than anywhere else. At the heart of our consumer society, where we are used to easy access to goods and possessions and where we are driven by the marked individualism of our daily lives, this month requires us to come back to the centre and to the meaning of our life.

We are all experiencing a profound loss of confidence. Fear, doubt and distrust are imperceptibly colonizing our hearts and minds. And so the other becomes our negative mirror, and the other’s difference allows us to define ourselves, to ‘identify’ ourselves.

The month of Ramadan is the “month of the meaning” … why this life? What about God in my life? What about my family and this humanity? What meaning have I given to my daily life?

A reminder; what are we doing of ourselves today? What are our contributions within the fields of social justice and liberty? How are we promoting the dignity of women, children or to protect the rights of the poor and the marginalized people in our societies?

What have we done with our message of individual responsibility of human brotherhood and compassion? All these questions are in our hearts and minds … and there is only one response inspired by the Qur’an and nurtured by the month of Ramadan: God will change nothing for the good if you change nothing.



Javed Akbar is director outreach at the Pickering Islamic Centre.

This Guest Editorial first appeared on and is reproduced here as a Guest Blog Post with permission from the Author.

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