This year, July marked the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting and worship. Today is the last day of fasting in Berkeley, which means tomorrow will be Eid, the holiday that celebrates the end of Ramadan. With the end in sight, the Clog thinks there are things everyone can learn from the month, whether observing fasts or not.
The first thing most people will tell you about fasting is that it helps you learn to appreciate what you have. When you forgo food for 16 hours, you realize that there are people who go much longer without any simply because they have no other choice. This is something we could all benefit from remembering no matter what time of the year it is. We can count on having food and water without much struggle, even if it is through a ramen diet. We also have a roof over our heads. And let’s not forget attending the No. 1 public university in the country. That’s a whole lot of good to be thankful for, no?
That being said, it’s great to help out when you can. Charity and good deeds are especially encouraged during the holy month, but there’s no reason this can’t carry on into the rest of your year. You don’t have to compete for most spirited charity worker or donate all your money, but doing things for someone other than yourself once in a while can be really rewarding. It could be as small as offering to help a friend struggling with her paper or offering to pick up boxes if you see someone moving things nearby. Pitching in on bigger efforts once in a while is also something good to look into. Berkeley is constantly having events like this, one of the biggest being the annual Berkeley Project community service event.
Material things, as nice and shiny as they are, aren’t the only thing you can be thankful for and give back to the community. You can always spend more time with people you care about. Observing Ramadan is a very personal endeavor in many ways, but it’s also a time for a community to come together and make those personal efforts together. People come together at their local mosques, share food with one another at their homes and take time to discuss what the month means to them. It’s a great time to spend time with family and good friends, and this is something we can all do. Maybe you’ve always been meaning to grab lunch with someone and never got the chance. Or maybe your mother is always telling you to call her, but you can never spare more than five minutes at a time. Do something about all that and make more effort with your personal VIPs. You’ll probably regret it if you don’t, and going the extra mile might brighten someone’s day. Plus, maybe making your mom happy will get you more yummies when you’re home for the holidays.
Our last piece of advice is simply this: Be nice. Ramadan is the time to exercise extra patience and other pleasant virtues. This means you shouldn’t let your temper get the best of you, and you should be forgiving, helpful and whatever other basic qualities of a good person you can think of. We’re all human, and we’re not perfect, but we can try to be better. Smile at people more. Help your parents cut vegetables in the kitchen when you’re home. Keep your cool when someone annoying cuts in front of you in line at the GBC. People will probably like you more if you try to act like a nicer person, and you’ll probably be happier overall.
No matter what month it is and no matter what religion you consider yourself a follower of, these are all positive things to keep in mind to improve your perspective on life. We wish you a happy Eid ahead of time!
Image source: Uzair Ahmed under Creative Commons
Contact Erum Khan at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @erumjkhan.