Ramadan: a month of fasting and spiritual reflection

Bobby Waris and his family at home.

Ramadan: a month of fasting and spiritual reflection

By Bobby Waris, Chief Executive of PAK Travels Ltd and a Trustee of Acorns

During Ramadan, Muslims – who are fit and able – will fast from sunrise to sunset – meaning they will abstain from both eating and drinking. Here, I share what a typical day looks like for me during Ramadan. 

Why do Muslims observe Ramadan? 

Obeying God’s decree: there are five pillars of Islam: Shahada – the profession of faith, Salah – the offering of daily prayers, Zakat – the commitment to donate to charity, Sawm – the act of fasting & Hajj – the religious pilgrimage. The month of Ramadan is therefore very important as it touches on core tenets of the faith. 

To exercise self-discipline and become more spiritually aware to appreciate the blessings God has bestowed upon mankind, which may otherwise be taken for granted. To develop empathy for those less fortunate than themselves. To give thanks for the holy Quran, which was revealed to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) during the month of Ramadan. 

Although a big focus is on the abstinence from food and drink, Muslims are also encouraged to self-reflect and show their gratitude for the blessings they have been given by God. They do this by offering prayers, donating to charity regularly, sharing food and drinks with family, friends, and those less fortunate. 

A typical day during Ramadan  

I wake up before sunrise to eat Suhoor, which is usually some form of breakfast food such as toast, yoghurt – this helps quench thirst throughout the day - and a big glass of water. I then offer the first prayers of the day – Fajr – and go back to sleep, to wake up later and begin my day. Throughout the day, I make a conscious effort to offer both Zuhr and Asr prayers – the second and third prayers of the day. 

The fast ends at sunset, and the mealtime is called Iftaar. At this time, my family and I come together to eat. The aim isn’t to have a big feast every night – it’s a time for us to appreciate the meal we have been blessed with, give thanks to God and to remember those less fortunate than us. We then offer Maghrib prayers – the fourth prayer of the day. 

Ramadan Iftar
Ramadan Iftar Meal

It is usually not a long period of time between Maghrib and the final prayers of the day– Isha. Following on from these prayers, during the month of Ramadan, Muslims can offer additional supplications, known as Taraweeh prayers. My family and I will often go to the mosque to offer these prayers in congregation and listen to religious teachings from Islamic leaders. 

Every year I eagerly anticipate the month of Ramadan. This is because it’s a time where I can step back and give myself some much needed ‘detox’ time to reflect and focus my efforts into strengthening my connection with God. 

The month of Ramadan is a highly auspicious month and impacts Muslims on a very personal level. To read more about how the month is commemorated and how you can work with your teams who may be observing the month of Ramadan, take a look at the guidance provided by the Muslim Council of Britain.