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  • BhawanaR

    This is beautiful.I am from India and i had experienced this very closely. I am Hindu and married to a Muslim guy. Being working couple, me and my husband would visit our relatives place every weekend during ramadan for a lavish iftar.Being hindu for half of my life, i read as much as possible to gain understanding ,knowledge and clarity about Islam and its practices. And yes, Holy month Ramadan is all about self discipline,self control, prayers and remembering Allah every second but the real meaning of ramadan is disappearing now a days. Your article is an eye opener Tasbeeh.Thank you for sharing this.

  • Fsuraiya

    Real good stuff to read so! I always assumed that Ramadan is truly felt in its spirit and purpose in a non middle eastern/ islamic country altogether. Fasting as I have done in the UAE forever now, I felt very different doing so back home in Sri Lanka! it was more humbling and the struggle was an eye opener.

    Just yesterday I was having this discussion with a friend about the lavish iftars and offers they have here sprawled across the city's many many glass crafter hotels and I raised my opting out of any invitations that I received. These high end meal iftars with a lavish display and so got nothing on my home meals and dates, the thought of it takes away ramadan for me to be honest.

    as for the title, you go girl! it was refreshingly eye catching and to the person who oddly just spotted that word of the many, relax man, you should hear the ghetto seep out when we get challenged, we're just regular girls so give it a rest!

    Hope the remainder few fasts go well for you. :)


  • Ari Arif

    Thank you for your wonderful article. I am 42 years old and have done all my fastings in Europe. When I started with fasting (1982) many of my class mates did not know anything about Islam in general and Ramadan in special. Meanwhile, this has completely changed.

    Through all the years I was wondering how fasting would be in Islamic countries and after reading your article I know now, that I haven't missed andything :-)

    All the best!!

    • Tasbeeh Herwees

      Ari, thanks for reading my piece! As someone pointed out earlier, Ramadan is what you make of it and while I personally find it more spiritually fruitful to fast in a non-Muslim country, I'm sure it's a difference experience for everyone. Ramadan mubarak!

  • Minnie S.

    This is a great article! I can totally relate as I lived in the US until high school and am now teaching in Indonesia, where all of the restaurants are curtained off during the day if they are open and any fasting-prohibited activities are frowned on regardless of what religion you are. It gives a markedly different vibe to the fasting experience. Some of the other things your mentioned also happen here, but I was really shocked when some of my students from Libya and the middle east shared the extent of excesses from their homeland.

  • Zakia Gadsden

    Just wanted to say I really enjoyed this piece. I can say I can relate as I have done things such as "sleep all day" on the weekends to avoid hunger but after the first few days I do begin to think and find a purpose of what this month really should me. I spend a lot of time reflecting on where I've been, where I am and where I am going and not so much planning on how to avoid hunger lol

  • anbar.mahar

    It makes me so happy to see an article from GOOD about Ramadan...but makes me proud to see I know the author! Great article Tasbeeh!

  • Ibthaj K

    Mashallah! Great article to read before I open my fast! Ramadan Kareem!

  • Jamaine Cripe

    I'm not even Muslim but I am humbled by your post. We do need to consider that we are exceedingly blessed to be able to choose to not eat, to not work, to not fear for our safety here in the U.S. for the most part. Thank you for sharing this with us (and I didn't mind your use of the word "asshole" at all. It was quite apropos.)

  • Mr. Happy

    While I strongly disagree with your use of profanity, you are still my sister in Islam and I love you for the sake of Allah and would like to extend best wishes to you and your family and may He shower his blessings upon you in abundance. Ramadan Kareem! :0)

  • Anna Streiter

    This post really discribes how it is to fast especially in the western world where muslims tend to be a minority. Here in Berlin, we have a huge arabic and turkish community and it is fun and interesting for me to experience their fasting time. My roommate is turkish and I really admire her willpower during the day and how she still manages to smile and make silly jokes. I wonder how I could make her time more bearable and fun, though.

  • morgansiem

    Great post. This part was especially poignant for me: "Ramadan is not just a month of physical abstention. Islamic scholars advise eschewing the consumption of unnecessary media during this time as well. Fasting frees up several hours in your day, and these hours are ideally spent in spiritual contemplation." Happy Ramadan and thanks for sharing these thoughts with us.

    • maira.rahme

      Thanks Morgan for sharing this on your facebook wall. These words speak to my core values! Lots of love.

  • trombone

    it's really surprising and impressive.
    Honestly, I'm coming from taiwan, so it's my first time to know what's is Ramandan.
    I wonder if I'm non-muslim, could i have a change to experience the greet event?

  • Nadiyah Abdul-khaliq

    This piece is awesome. Your response to the haters is awesome. go into politics. Please. We need more people like you.

  • Fahad Raja

    Tasbeeh, Thank you so much, your article is like a perfect reminder that I needed, living in France and practicing Ramadan (20 hours fast lol) isn't like it used to be in Saudia or Pakistan.
    I am going to share your goo written article and will for sure minimize the electronic media use too.
    Thank you so much and Happy Ramadan to you.
    PS : Please keep writing.

    • Tasbeeh Herwees

      Thanks Fahad! I'm so glad you enjoyed my piece and happy Ramadan to you too as well!

  • SuzanneSRQ

    Thank you for your post. When I was teaching English as a Second Language, I spoke with many students about Ramadan and understood it in a general sense. However, you have given me a much better grasp of the specifics. In response to other comments here, I understand that you do not represent everyone's experience during Ramadan and I appreciate your sharing your reflections about it.

    • Tasbeeh Herwees

      Suzanne, thank you for reading and understanding!

  • Noemi M

    Tasbeeh, thank you so much for sharing your heart and experience in regards to Ramadan. :) I am a middle school educator, and teach a unit on Islam. So, teaching on Islam, my students learn about Ramadan. It never ceases to amaze them! I love your candor. I would love to share this piece with my students so they can learn that Ramadan is more about transformation! Blessings to you, and Ramadan Mubarak!

    • Tasbeeh Herwees

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts! Ramadan mubarak!

  • Mr. Happy

    I apologize for being harsh, but when you proclaim yourself to be a Muslim you not only represent yourself, you are representing your fellow believers, and your are representing Our beloved Prophet. By using foul language, you are not representing the character of a believer properly. Please be more careful in your writing.

    • Tasbeeh Herwees

      Thank you for your thoughts and I'm sorry if you were offended. I disagree, however, as I do not regard that word as foul language. Used in the context of insulting someone, it is disrespectful, but in the context I am using it now, I do not believe I was in the wrong. Secondly, I take issue with any argument that puts the onus on me to represent all of Islam, the Prophet or Muslims, just as I would disagree with any argument that puts the onus on terrorists or dictators to represent all of Islam, the Prophet or Muslims. I am my own person, and my mistakes are mine. I appreciate your concern, and hope you can understand where I'm coming from.

      • Mr. Happy

        The Prophet came to perfect manners. I think you should really go back to the basics. Perhaps show this article and your choice of words to either your Imam or even your own parents and ask them if that word should be used at all ever. If we let ourselves talk recklessly and try to justify ourselves then we really are lost.

    • sami_saied

      Respect for the religion and Prophet is not in words but in your mind! Get out of the gutter and you will see the purpose of this article if you climb far enough!

      • Mr. Happy

        You are wrong. You will be taken to account for EVERY action on the Day of Judgement INCLUDING YOUR WORDS. WAKE UP!

        • sami_saied

          I'm glad you're awake!

  • stephbeth1

    i always equate fasting for ramadan and then celebrating its end with eid was a religious requirement, like the high holidays in judaism,on yom kippur we fast all day and break the fast at night. there are other days of fasting in judaism, only orthodox and some conservatives practice this.

    i believe the purpose of fasting is so you do not think about yourself, but how you can be a better person in the eyes of god or mohammed or whomever you worship. ramadan and eid are no different than the meaning of rosh hashana and yom kippur.

    • Tasbeeh Herwees

      Thank you for your thoughts! Many Islamic practices are derived from a Jewish and Christian tradition, as Islam is an Abrahamic faith. Ramadan is certainly aligned with this shared history and promotes many of the same values propagated in the Bible and Torah.

  • Mr. Happy

    "I cannot afford to be an *******" do you think that's cute? Shame on you.

  • Mr. Happy

    What an immature vulgar title to use. Not becoming of a sister. You already broke your fast with that title.

    • Sm1969

      But is it becoming of a brother?
      Is that all you got from this article?
      I'm sorry, but you seem harsh and judgemental-I'm not sure if that was something any of the Prophets wanted thus to be like...?
      Take care

    • Sm1969

      But I guess it's becoming of a brother?
      And that word was all you got out of this article?

  • trusttheprocess

    I think those who are posting judgments should look in the mirror. Those who like to point the finger at others at any given chance are usually those who like to distract themselves from facing their own issues. That being said, Tasbeeh, I appreciate your candor and honesty. Your piece was very human and very real. I am not religious, but I believe in God, and my boyfriend is Muslim. I fast during Ramadan to support him and I feel blessed, as you, to have the choice to do so. I think Islam has many beautiful aspects, and if I do decide on a religion, Islam will most likely be my choice. Ramadan Mubarak! =)

    • Tasbeeh Herwees

      Thanks so much for reading and Ramadan mubarak to you as well!

  • Bill McGuire

    Ms. Herwees, I was raised in the Episcopal Church, but at my advanced age consider myself more spiritual than religious. I read your piece completely and just wanted to say that your explanation of what Ramadan truly represents was simple and straight forward. I appreciate the fact that the United States was founded by people who were escaping, at least in part, religious persecution. My parents raised me to be color blind to a person's skin color, and to this day I can point to that one thing and know that they most certainly did the right thing, and I am eternally grateful for that. I never knew or cared really what Ramadan encompassed, though some paint it as being a bad thing, probably for lack of knowledge of it. That is why I took the time to read your piece. Thank you for the lesson, and know that I will pass this along to others who have an open mind. Best wishes.

    • Tasbeeh Herwees

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts, Bill. As Islam comes from a vibrant Judeo-Christian history, the three faiths share so many values, as well as history! I'm glad you could derive some meaning from my words.

  • Susan Giulio

    I am so grateful to you for sharing this internal experience of Ramadan.

    I look at the rainbow of religions in the world as the varying texts of the human heart and its encounter with the infinite, perhaps the divine, as forged by geography, history and the appearance different prophets to serve different peoples.

    So again, thank you!

    • Sujatha Rajanandam

      Thats so beautifully put,Susan,your take on the religions in the world.I'm going to preserve this quote of yours.Thank you,so much.

  • Chuck O'Connor

    I find this common sentiment with religious devotion to call into question the believer's moral bearing. If you need an external prompt from an ancient time to practice self-control, patience and empathy I doubt the religious person's moral maturity. Compassion, patience and empathy are available if one chooses personal responsibility, that one must submit to a dogma to realize this implies the person is caught in a narcissism demanding reprimand to activate their humanity. It is why religion has grown into something I see as odd and unnecessary.

    • Tasbeeh Herwees

      Thank you for your thoughts. Obviously, I don't feel the same way but understand where you're coming from. As a practice, I find fasting is spiritually fulfilling -- it encourages self-control and patience, but like I said in my piece, not empathy. These values should always be central to our lives, not just in Ramadan, but they're not always. Ramadan helps me recenter. It removes me from my external environment and helps me look inward. This is a very personal experience and it's obviously not the same for everyone. We all use different tools to become better people -- through volunteering, giving charity, reading the news to be aware of global conflicts, etc etc. This is just one of them -- for me, at least.

  • C Funk

    Religion is for retards.

    • Johrune

      1) Don't use blanket generalizations.

      2) Don't use words offensive to the disabled community.

      3) Think before you write. Words matter.

      • C Funk

        Don't be afraid of words.

        • RayneGrrl

          words have power. before you wield that power, you should have some sense of the inherent responsibility.

  • Nazia Salam

    I felt the same way when I spent the last Ramadan in Bangladesh. Having no family their, I was living in the country for six months during which Ramadan fell. I was looking forward to a more authentic celebration, one we hear that our parents and grandparents had in their home country. But, the previous comments are correct in saying it's what you make of it. I totally get your perspective on it being easier there, and not realizing how the everyday challenges we face in the states make it much more meaningful for us personally. I thought I would feel the observance on the month all around me, yet it was overlooked and not given as much attention as I thought because it's something everyone does (almost just out of habit). But I feel I get a really special experience in the states, because I'm one of few in my circle of friends celebrating and I get the opportunity to tell more people about Ramadan that haven't heard of it before. Great piece!

    • Tasbeeh Herwees

      Thanks for reading! And thanks for sharing your experience in Bangladesh. I imagine it's similar in many Muslim-majority countries -- because religion is so ingrained in everyday practices and culture, it can become routine. (Just as Christmas and Easter have become so commercialized in Christian-majority countries and less spiritually focused).

  • Sana Khan

    I understand you were new to the country of Libya, travelling. And environment can effect a person. But Ramadan is what YOU make of it. It is your own relationship with God and what you is between you and Him. If you knew the area, you could have sought out some scholars and listened to talks, I'm sure Libya has scholars around.

    • Tasbeeh Herwees

      That's true. I lived with my family while I was there and I know the area relatively well, having visited several times before. Unfortunately, religious resources were limited and difficult to find. There's not the same Islamic lecture culture that exists here in the U.S. And because religion is so closely tied to national culture and tradition, much of the religious practices have become perfunctory or commercialized. Ramadan is treated much more like a holiday. Part of my point, however, is that I went looking for a more "authentic" experience of Islam in Libya that I just as easily could have acquired here in California, so I definitely agree with you!

  • Hillary Newman

    Tashbeeh, after reading your piece I would give anything to undo the spoonful of peanutbutter I just swallowed. You made such a solid point about celebrating the experience to transform through Ramadan rather than just going through the motions. And I thought it was particularly interesting to learn about the differenced between Ramadan in the US and Libya.

    If you let me, I would love to join you one day in Ramadan in the office. It's something I've never tried, and would love to experience.

    • Tasbeeh Herwees

      Ha, thanks so much Hillary! I would love for you to join me:) We can break fast together too.