Thursday, 7 June 2018

Ramadan in Ghana

As Muslims, the most asked question is, what is Ramadan? In Islam, Muslims have their own calendar and Ramadan fall on the ninth month. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar based on the cycles of the month. This is the period where Muslims fast for 29 to 30 days, from dawn to sunset. Hence why Ramadan is never a fixed month in the western calendar. Ramadan is the month that the Qur’an (holy book) was revealed to the last prophet, Muhammad (pbuh).

Another popular question or statement is, God is rather wicked for allowing you to starve for so long. When you do not have a particular faith of your own, it is easy to misconstrue other people’s faith. As human beings, it is hard to understand or be empathetic to something you have not encountered. Islam is built on five pillars, which are; charity, prayer, fasting, pilgrimage (visiting Hajj) and the shahadah (believing in the oneness of Allah (GOD) and his prophets). Islam itself means peace, and the teachings and examples sent by Allah emphasise on humility, forgiveness, humbleness, obedience, honesty, sympathy and so fourth. Fasting is not only good for your health as it is a form of detoxification, but it is also a humbling experience. It helps to deter one from disobedience and also increases empathy for those less fortunate. It also increases spirituality which strengthens your connection with God and helps one to remember the blessings which we usually take for granted.

Fasting in Ghana, has so far been a good experience. There is a mosque in every community, which makes praying easy. Religion is a big thing in Ghana. Therefore, practicing a religion in Ghana is very easy, Christians and Muslims work hand in hand. Therefore, even though I and my counterpart are away from home, we still feel the peace that comes with Ramadan. Although the heat can make one more fatigue during the day, especially when working in the office or doing chores like washing clothes has become tedious. Even socialising has become a burden. Due to the hot sun, being out all day without water makes one feel dehydrated.

Not being able to participate in social events does sometimes make us feel sad because we do not want our other team members feel like we are not being active team members. Even though are team members are understanding to the fact that we are fasting, it still does make us feel like we are missing out on the social aspect.

The sun sets much earlier in Ghana, therefore, we break our fast around 6:30pm. This gives us enough time to cook and socialise with our host families, before going to the mosque for night prayers.

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