How the Deprivation of Ramadan Helps Care for the Spirit

How the Deprivation of Ramadan Helps Care for the Spirit

Her regime is a focus on caring for herself through being still and reading more. “I speak less, I listen more,” she wrote. “I catch myself, letting go of small irritations, forgiving quickly, being as honest as possible.” This Ramadan, she is also reading about Unani medicine, an Islamic naturopathy based on ancient Greek medicine from Hippocrates and Galen. All this heightens her senses, she wrote: “Hearing birds and the rustling of trees from great distances, sharper scents, the sun or the breeze on my skin, the vividness of the colors and sights around me, give me so much more pleasure.”

But, mostly importantly, through this, she added: “I am almost able to step away from all the attachments,” she said.

In Islam, prayer is done through meditation and “dhikr,” a form of rhythmic devotion that consists of the repetition of Quranic verse. Prayer during Ramadan is an act of coming back to oneself many times a day — five times, if you’re Sunni Muslim, or three times a day, if you’re Shi’a — in order to minimize the self. Again, the act of returning to oneself to leave oneself sounds paradoxical. But when it is undertaken with the care it deserves, the meditative mantras of Muslim surahs takes us outside the friction of everyday life. In our day to day, the stresses of the world — including the Islamophobia — keeps us alert but bothered, consumed with the physical, and less in touch with the spiritual.

“I understand the meaning of worship as a way to reconnect with the Source of All Wisdom, Love, and Energy and feel drawn to it,” Ms. Meer wrote.

Prayer, and any deep reflection, really, unlocks us from our mind’s prison. It’s an incarnation of death, too — a fundamental reminder to seek greater purpose in our individual lives. Even if it’s just every Ramadan, it’s a start. It’s meant to be a month of actualized self-care for Muslims.

It’s an angry world we live in — or at least, there are many things that incite anger, and can lead to deep sorrow.

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