The Ramadan Experience

The Ramadan Experience

Who has not heard of Ramadan and the special holy Muslim month of fasting? Staying for the first half year of 2016, we had the unique chance to discover this unique experience and to look behind the facade of this contradicting season.

All Muslims are supposed to fast in the ninth month of the Muslim calender, only children, old-age, sick and pregnant women are excluded. They believe that the holy Quran has been sent to the people during this ninth month of the year. Since then, it has always been a time of extensive praying, reflecting and abstinence. Ramadan means no smoking, no sexual contact and no staring at girls on the streets. More importantly, though, Muslims abstain from eating and even drinking from sunrise to sunset. Not even chewing gums or small gulps were allowed even though Marrakesh’s weather forecast named 48°C as some day’s maximum.

Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss writer, said that “Fasting is, first and foremost, an exercise for identifying and managing adversity in all its forms. With faith, in full conscience, fasting calls women and men to an extra degree of self-awareness.”

For us students living in Rabat during this special time, the entire city had turned Sotto Sopra. Some shops opened around lunchtime, most restaurants and cafés only opening at 8 in the evening for providing the delicious F’tour, the break-fast consisting of juices, Moroccan pastries, dates, fruits, harira soup and many more. Very impressing were also the entirely empty streets during the evening prayer in which much more people than normally participated. Around the mosques however, carpets were laid out for the variety of Muslims in prayer.

It was an amazing month in which we could finally understand the sense and the uniqueness of what lies behind Ramadan. We took F’tour, waited with our friends Ibrahim and Marfut for the call of the Muezzin and enjoyed the calmness of the days. In this sense: Ramadan Kareem!