Ramadan

Assalamualaikum

In most countries the Ramadan started and for me this is a good reason to talk about religion. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It is during this month that Muslims celebrate the fast of Ramadan. It lasts for the entire month.

In many religious traditions we find evidence of the importance of fasting. What could be a (good) reason for fasting one can ask himself. While reading through literature and articles, I found that it is mostly meant to be or become connected with God. According to Wikipedia Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam, as well as refraining from anger, envy, greed, lust, sarcastic retorts, backbiting and gossip. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, as well as sympathy for those who are less fortunate, intending to make Muslims more generous and charitable. Could it be helpful I ask myself? Could it be possible to transform from our “normal” habits, patterns and attitudes to more divine actions and manifestations by fasting? I can imagine that it will work, especially when there is a collective willingness to follow the ideas, philosophies who are the basic fundaments beyond the rituals. One of the main health problems in the World now-a-days is the over consumption of food. Obesity a common problem which is even more remarkable, when we face the fact that on the other hand people still die from starvation. We eat, eat and eat and more often with very little awareness. Are we aware of the quality? Are we aware of the quantity? Could it be that while fasting our awareness switches? I suppose so!

Religion is in some parts of the world something that we should avoid talking about. Religion should never influence our working life’s. We need separation of our private and working life. I like to call this an invitation for collective schizophrenia. Religion is the source of much violence and wars, is what I quite often hear. While studying the origin of Peace and Conflicts at the University of Granada (PhD program), I found very little evidence. I asked myself some questions: what is religion; can we eat, taste, and touch it? I like to share some observations. I am able to see people praying, singing, listening, fasting and participating in certain rituals. Is this religion? Did religion already exist before human kind? Was religion already fighting, without us human beings? Just for the fun of fighting? Is and can religion be responsible for terrorism and female genital mutilation? If (the meaning of) religion is created by human kind, why is it that we do not take responsibility ourselves for the violence, aggression and wars we create?

While searching on a more profound level I discovered that most situations of violence and wars have at least one aspect in common, namely the artificially created idea that there is a difference between the one and the other. The “selfish” idea that we need this separation based on thoughts that we do not have enough to share. The (animalistic) fear that we need more and more, at the very same moment in which we do not even feel grateful, for what we already have. I very much like the idea that, at least at certain periods, moments in our lives we create possibilities to reflect, to do some internal re-search and refresh our perceptions in one way or the other. I like to share my loving feelings for all the Muslims that are fasting right now. Some statistics, according to some calculations I found: there are 1 billion (20% of the world population) Muslims, in Indonesia about 210.000.000. In India about 138.188.240. Thank you that you as part of me practice self-disciple and generosity. I like to make a heart connection with all of you and I promise to practice the same.

I wish all of you Ramadan Moebarak! Vurige_rode_roos

3 Responses to “Ramadan”

  • Emmanuelle M.:

    Just two comments on your text which raises indeed very interesting questions:
    About fasting, I read once in a book (from Jean-Marie Le Clezio) a conversation between a man and a boy which was very beautiful and peaceful. The boy asked what was Ramadan about. The man asked him: when you are very eager to eat, do you want to drink ? No answered the boy. When you are very eager to drink, do you want to eat ? No answered the boy. So, said the man, this is what fasting is about. But what are you so much eager for, then, if it is not food or drink ? asked the boy. I am eager for God.
    I am not sure my translation is good enough, but the text in French was very beautiful, simple and peaceful.
    And this leads me to my second remark, about religion: I guess spirituality is what we call religion sometimes, and this is someting eternal and universal. While religion is the human structure that is trying to “encode” or “organize” it in order for people who think the same to be able to gather in the same social structure. And I guess the religion leads to wars while spirituality gets people together.
    I wish we were all more open to our own and very intimate spirituality, and able to open to each other’s spirituality. I wish I could do it wherever I am, while I am only able to in Ehtiopia at the moment.

  • Emmanuelle M.:

    One more thing: two weeks ago I went to the wedding ceremony of a girl working in the same organization as me, and at the end of the ceremony, because it was a beautiful ceremony and I felt close to all these people happy about the same event, I wanted to stay longer in the church and do these very special things that christian orthodox people do in Ehtiopia: stay bare-footed, bend in front of the statue of Virgin Mary, pray and kiss the ground. The catholic priest, when he saw me remove my shoes, told me “we are not muslims here, you do not have to remove your shoes”, and followed me to the place I wanted to stay alone in, without any respect for the privacy of my prayer. I was shocked of course, but unfortunately it is not the first time I was shocked by Catholics, but I felt still in the loving moment of the wedding ceremony, and left the church without any comment to this man who most probably had a spirituality that was close to mine though he could not recognize it. Poor him.

  • Reshma Munshi:

    We cannot touch, taste or see religion. My mother once told me from her readings : Religion is to be what one is– to be one`s real true self, achieved through meditation and self realisation, which leads to a feeling of deep happiness and peace. Tjis was practised by ancient sages in India. If to be happy and to be peaceful is religion, there is only a single religion. All “religious practices”, (fasting, praying etc)then, are drawn in order to attain the self discipline which helps to concentrate to be near ourselves, to be near God, and to be our true self.
    But because we concentrate so much on the means to attain the true self, to so speak, the rituals, religion becomes an empty mechanistic practice. Maybe it no longer remains religion, because it did not lead to the state of peace and happiness we are meant to attain. The energy, not becoming positive, ends up into negativity, as a destructive political tool.