By Sarah Shafiq

May 26th is an important day this year for many in our wonderful Kitchener-Waterloo community because we welcome the holy month of Ramadan. Muslims are called upon by God to refrain from food and drink, starting at dawn and breaking the fast at sunset for a full lunar month of Ramadan. Many of our Christian brothers and sisters also observed lent recently and it made me think of how God reminds us in the Qur’an that the prescription of fasting is not a new form of worship for Muslims but that we are linked with brothers and sisters of other faiths through the commonality of fasting.

While most of us focus on following the letter of the law regarding fasting and are thus taking care to stop eating at a particular minute or breaking the fast with a date, too often we forget the spirit or the objective of the rules of fasting. God clearly defines the objective to be the attainment of God consciousness. This objective calls for us to be constantly aware about our intentions and actions. A month of such introspection and critical analysis of our own selves every year has a potential to make a significant difference in the world.

Ramadan provides me with the opportunity to revive my connection with the Creator. I associate it with a boot-camp where we get to make extra effort both at a physical and mental level. God gives us this gift every year to establish new habits or break some old ones, to change the monotonous routine, to examine our deeds and reflect upon our actions, and most importantly, build our relationship with the word of God, the Qur’an – a relation so strong that it translates into meaningful action.