Ramadan is a time to build connections to God and others

By Ilhan Raage

Ramadan is essentially a month of self-improvement. However, with my stomach growling for over 15 hours for the 30 days, itís easy to forget the real meaning behind the month.

If youíve never heard of Ramadan before, itís an Islamic holiday that takes place once a year and consists of fasting from sunrise to sunset for a month.
Yes, I know. It sounds crazy difficult, but itís one of my favorite times of the entire year.

Why do I do it? Because itís a month in which one can get closer to God. While fasting, itís encouraged to read from the Quran, spend time in prayer, and give charity. Although I try to focus on doing that, I often find myself thinking of the sambusa, kebabs, and watermelon juice waiting for me at Iftar (the time when we break our fast.)

After Ramadan, there is a three-day holiday called Eid-ul-Fitr. Meaning Festival of the Feast, Eid-ul-Fitr is exactly what the name implies. The day is spent in celebration, eating, and visiting family. The thing I look towards the most for Eid is dressing up and going out with my family.
To me, Ramadan is not only a time to build a stronger connection with God, but to discover oneself and connect with others as well. While fasting, I have learned to be grateful for the food that I have everyday because for others in the world, they arenít as fortunate as I am to have a meal everyday.

And with every Ramadan, I grow to be more patient and empathic.