There are many issues disturbing theists and believers, especially Muslims. Societies all over the world are moving at an astonishing speed to deny God, distancing from religion and any kind of religious asceticism. The more we, the citizens of the global village, are away from God and religious tasks, the more we are attractive and acceptable. This is why people who fast, people who have hijab, prayers, church-goers fast, and synagogue-goers are labeled as extremist, unreasoned, and fanatic.
This year is my 27th Ramadan since I started fasting. During these years, I have always been scorned and accused of having medieval thoughts.
Actually, as I am writing this, I am not sure who is right. Perhaps they are right. Maybe it’s really me who is fanatic. Maybe I am trying to match the ideas of the centuries ago with the advanced life of the modern century. But one thing I am sure of. There is a difference in the life experience of a man of faith and the one without it.
The different ways of looking at the world
I am certain because when I talk about my emotions toward Ramadan, I see the confounded and puzzled as if my words are the incomprehensible sound of wind among the rain forests of Africa. It makes no sense to anyone but me. Sometimes I feel like talking about Ramadan with them is talking to those who only see my lips move. Not even a word is heard.
Even so, I, and so many other people like me, continue the religious rites as every year. To be honest, I do not care for the contemptuous look of others and their thoughts on me. I like Ramadan because it has now become a lifestyle after more than 27 years.
I do not care that my friends – even those who grew up in a Shia religious family – think that the holy month of Ramadan means only hunger and thirst; a vain act that hurts my brain, stomach, or skin. Even though fasting hurts my body in such ways, I do not care. Why? Because what I get after hours of hunger and thirst is precious to me. It is something that I cannot share with anyone else.
Once prayer call (Azaan) is said, I feel that my security, health, inner peace, and economic security are indebted to God’s assistance. After every Azaan, I think about my life journey. And how God dares me to experience new things by putting me in a new path. Every single Iftar, I think how gave me the opportunity to try new ways and become someone I’m proud of.
And how can I share my good feelings with those who have no understanding of divine kindness? Those who have no understanding of the salvation of a person by God on the edge of the abyss? Or, those who consider these salvations the product of chance or material factors?
It is useless to speak of it to those who have never been in this path or asked for it. That is why it does not matter how far this model of worship is away from the modern human civilization. For me, Ramadan is still a way of getting closer to the power that has created me, who has given me the opportunity to live, and above all, the one whose affection lies in my heart.
Breaking the routines
But purification of the spirit and spiritual feelings is not only my favorite subjects of Ramadan. There are other things that make Ramadan interesting and lovely for me. One of the most important things is to break routines and repetitive life. It is very nice to have my sleep hours, waking, eating, and drinking tea changed or omitted for a month. Especially as I have a very good justification to stay awake during the night. Mostly because in its beautiful silence, I can read a book, write, or watch movies.
Besides, it is not just my personal life that changes. Since Iran’s a country with a theocracy government, the time tables, work habits, and recreations of the whole country changes. During this month, the city begins to rise after sunset. Restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres, and swimming pools begin to work one after the other. And open their doors to the public so a country is up to the morning.
On the other hand, restaurants and cafes do not serve their usual food. Drinks, foods, and even the pastries that people eat are different for a month. I know messing up everything is not acceptable for everyone, but it takes me to two or even three decades ago, and I like this wave of nostalgia. It reminds me that there are still things other than smartphones and the internet to add special meaning to people’s lives. Every year, Ramadan reminds me that life is still beautiful for those who are keen on changes.