The Month of Ramadan

Ali Abu Dayyeh is one of our Tour Guide students. As a Muslim, he has a unique insight into this month of Ramadan, which is so important to our Muslim neighbors. We are glad that God loves them as He loves us all.

The month of Ramadan is the ninth month in the Hijri calendar. It is the month of fasting, which is one of the pillars of Islam. During this month, Muslims believe the gates of hell are closed and the gates of heaven are opened, and fasting will fully atone for all kinds of sins. Ramadan includes Lailat Al Qadr (the Night of Power), which God Almighty considers to be better than a thousand months, during which the angels descend upon the earth and open the gates of heaven. During these days of fasting, Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn until sunset (the whole day), and the duration of the month is 29-30 days. When the month of Ramadan ends, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which is a three-day holiday.

Every year, I wait anxiously for Ramadan because it is my favorite month of the year. I consider this month a month of worship, and it also helps me lose a lot of weight! During this month, many sports programs are held in the area where I live, such as the Ramadan Champions Football League, supervised by the city municipality in which many friends and many children participate. Many fans attend the games and enjoy watching. I participate in it every year, although the league starts daily three hours before breakfast!

The socio-economic situation this year greatly affects us, of course, due to unemployment for more than a year, caused by the Coronavirus. In this month, there are many expenses, as every family is obliged to invite each member over for iftar (breakfast). That is in addition to the expenses of Eid al-Fitr, which awaits us after Ramadan. Since the Coronavirus destroyed tourism in the city of Bethlehem, all people working in tourism have been unemployed, and their financial situation is very difficult.

Celebrating Ramadan reaps many rewards for Muslims, so good deeds are rewarded ten times as much in this month. Therefore, Muslims take advantage of this month to approach God and worship Him by praying on time, reading the Qur’an, and helping the needy. In addition, during this month, free iftar gatherings are held for the poor. Muslims also perform the obligatory Zakat (charity) during the month of Ramadan and give money to the needy.

There are also health benefits of fasting during Ramadan. It stimulates the work of the digestive system and addresses its various problems. It also helps you to lose excess weight by burning excess fats in the body, and the body gets rid of toxins and pollutants accumulated in it. It even helps the fasting person to break free of the smoking habit. The month of Ramadan is considered a good opportunity to fight addictions such as alcohol, drugs and other things. Fasting teaches a person patience, will, determination, endurance, self-control, and not to succumb to anger.

The month of Ramadan in Palestine is one of the most beautiful months of the year. The family gatherings are one of the most important features of this month. All women in Palestine are keen to prepare various favorite foods throughout the month of Ramadan. Some of the most important meals in Ramadan in Palestine are Maklouba (meaning “upside down”) – consisting of rice with fried vegetables (eggplant or potatoes) and chicken; the Palestinian Mansaf – meat cooked in dried yogurt sauce, served with rice and Shrak bread; and chicken stuffed with rice. An iftar is only complete with desserts, and one of the most important desserts in Ramadan is Qatayef, and the Nabulsi Kunafa, among many other sweets and fruits that fill the Palestinian table during Ramadan.

As a Muslim, I love this month of Ramadan so much, because it is the month of mercy and forgiveness. I also love what I see during this month from my Christian brothers and sisters, whom I see standing on the streets at the time of iftar, distributing water and dates to fasting people who are traveling on the road for long distances. I see in their eyes mercy and religious tolerance, and I see in their eyes that they are the original people of this country who love this country with all its sects and are not separated by religions. It is a great thing to see the respect and love we have for each other in this country especially at such times. For this I say thank you!