Hanan Awad, The Circle

Why is Ramadan loved in the whole Islamic world despite hunger and thirst? How on earth people feel excited about the fact that they would stop eating, drinking, and some other pleasures for more than 15 hours? I will tell you why I and my Muslim brothers and sisters love Ramadan.

Ramadan is an annual event to develop self-control. If I can stop eating and drinking for all these hours, fearing no one but the Almighty Allah, I can achieve any goal I aim at. We fast not to starve or torture ourselves but to elevate our spirits to higher levels, to train our bodies and hearts to control the desires no fall victims to our desires that might lead us to unwanted destinations.

Another reason why I love Ramadan is the great opportunity to think and reflect on all the blessings I have in life. No matter what is your financial, social, or physical status, you will have to think of all the blessings granted to you by God and feel profound gratitude.

Ramadan is a spiritual vacation to my soul, where I can feel entirely submissive to my creator and think of my mission in life. In Ramadan, I feel the need to evaluate how close I am to God and stop sabotaging myself by my thoughts or words; to regain my power over my weakened self and heal myself by the will of Allah. To reprogram myself to value and empower myself to feel the profound strengths inherited in me.

In Ramadan 2007, I discovered that I was watching TV more than living life. Steve Jobs once said: “The most corrosive piece of technology that I’ve ever seen is called television”. In 2007, my husband and I took one of the most difficult decisions we have ever made; we gave up TV.  It was not easy at all, after having the TV on by the time we return home at 6:00 pm until the time we go to bed at 1:00 am every night for six or seven years since we got married at that time.  Even before getting married, TV was an indispensable part of our daily lives as it was the case with almost all Egyptian families.

We lived our lives in silos, trapped in our favourite shows.  I had daily appointments with Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil, and a long list of actors as actresses that I admired. I peeled potatoes in front of the magnificent screen, I ironed shirts, I enjoyed my cup of coffee alone in the house, and I cried to fictions stories and faked tears of Russell Crowe. In their room, my kids spent their times mesmerized in front of Spacetoon and MBC4.

That was the case till one Ramadan; we decided to be devoted to the holy month. By the end of the month, we discovered the beauty of family time, of gathering around a nice meal and really pay attention to each other.  It took us several months after that Ramadan to take the decision, but we never regretted it till this moment.

I do not say that every family should go and throw their TVset and other screens and smartphones, but take time-off and use this time to live life, and Ramadan is the perfect time of the year to start a screen diet.