This podcast has helped me understand that Ramadan is not just a holy month for Muslims due to fasting but also holds importance for them for several other reasons including revelation of Quran. It seems that the main purpose of fasting is to understand and sympathize with poor people by experiencing hunger. It was surprising to learn that some Muslims like Samar Jarrah enjoy fasting more in the U.S. than their native countries even though Ramadan is usually celebrated with family. Samar claims fasting in U.S. is more rewarding because it is harder to fast here when most of the people around you are not.
Another Muslim Wajhat Ali claims Ramadan is about doing good dead and not just fasting. Even if one doesn’t fast, he can celebrate Ramadan by doing good deeds such as feeding poor or being nice to the neighbor. One convert to Islam, Yanina Vashchenko claims that Islam is not strict and she has been quite flexible in following Islam such as not dressing a particular way because Islam doesn’t make it compulsory. Yanina says she really enjoyed her first month of fasting because she knew she was doing it for a higher power. Thus, Ramadan is not only about fasting but also the intention behind it as well as doing good deeds.
Maria Enrique Romero married an Arab guy but she converted to Islam only after getting divorced from her husband. Maria says she used to fast to support her husband even before embracing Islam but she felt true joy in fasting only after embracing Islam. She even hosts convert and single Muslim women during month of Ramadan. There are also many Muslims who don’t fast for health reasons including Allee Ramadhan but Allee says his faith has been a source of great strength and has given him discipline.
Allee does admit to being more generous during the month of Ramadan than normally. There were numerous other Muslims who shared their stories but it is apparent that Muslims do not consider Ramadan as a month of fasting only but instead as a call for bringing about positive change in their lives through good deeds.