Monday, August 5, 2013

Ramadan Reflections

As we enter the last week of Ramadan (August 7th), we asked several women from the UAE studying with us here at the Sheikh Zayed Institute, two members from the Student Innovators Program, and one, a pediatric resident, to share their thoughts on Ramadan and what this special time of year means to them.

Noura Al Dhaheri, Children's National Pediatric Resident, from Al Ain, UAE

Ramadan is a special time of the year when Muslims around the world take a step back from their daily routines and focus on community, charity, fasting, and prayer. Muslims use this month to re-evaluate their lives - make peace with those who have wronged them, strengthen ties with family and friends, and do away with bad habits.

As Ramadan helps us to develop our moral discipline, it also reminds us of the plight of those who live in constant hunger and deprivation. We are reminded by the revealed book (Qur'an) that religiosity is insincere and meaningless if it does not lead people to care and share. We are also told in the Qur'an that we will not attain righteousness until we spend of what we love. In other words, we must learn to empathize with the hungry and needy people and be willing to part with some of our dearest possessions, for the sake of others.

Ramadan is a great opportunity to share Islam's values of spirituality, generosity, and kindness with others, especially your neighbors.

Shatha Al Wahhabi, Sheikh Zayed Institute Student Innovator & Junior at Khalifa University

Charity plays an important role in Islam throughout the year and especially during Ramadan. One of the simplest acts that I usually do in my daily life is helping others in opening the door. Also, I put a small container filled up with water beside the window or in the garden for the little birds, so they can drink from it. Every time I do something related to charity, I remember my father's saying: "Keep doing the best and the simplest deeds to help needed people. You do not realize how much they need it."

The desire of serving the community and helping others motivated me to be involved in biomedical engineering.  I believe deep inside myself that the key of your inner happiness depends on the number of smiles you have drawn upon others faces.

Eiman Hammoudi, Sheikh Zayed Institute Student Innovator & Junior at Khalifa University

Fasting during Ramadan makes us value the graces that we have, especially food and water and to feel the suffering of the unfortunate. I remember seeing a woman being interviewed on TV during Ramadan. She put a pot on a fire and started to move the spoon inside it, the sun was about to set and people started to get ready to have their breakfast. A TV anchor asked her about her living condition and what does she eats normally. She replied that she was doing really well and had everything she needed to live, that God had given her everything.

The anchor man was surprised about the reply, because the lady was living in a tent. Then, his eyes went toward the pot, and he jokingly said, "are you making us the breakfast?" She didn't reply. He looked inside the pot, and it was empty! He asked her what she was doing. She said: "I don't have anything to cook, and I started my fire because I know that God will take care of me and will not let me down."

It was one of the saddest scenes that I have ever seen. I believe that people were created to help and support each other. The fortunate must help those who are less fortunate, no matter of their race or religion.

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