The True Meaning of Ramadan

Posted on 15 July, 2015

Ramadan month (bulan Ramadhan) is a special occasion for our Muslim friends, and it’s meaning much more than just fasting during the day for a whole month. The word “Ramadan” means to burn, especially to burn away bad habits which distract you from the reminiscence of God (see Huffington Post). The month usually lasts from 29 to 30 days, based on official lunar year sightings, where Muslim friends are resisting food and liquid from dawn to dusk, and turning to refocus on their prayers also strengthen their recitation of the Holy Quran.

Ramadan is a special time for many Indonesians. Photo: theiranproject.com
Ramadan is a special time for many Indonesians. Photo: theiranproject.com

Furthermore, Ramadan is an opportunity to take action and become a finer person to humanity. On this month, people learn to refrain from gossiping, extravagance, immodesty, ignorance, and thinking unwell of others, so when people are allowed to receive drinks and foods again, they have created inner defences to cease from previously held bad habits.

In this month, there is history saying the Holy Quran was disclosed to the Prophet Mohammed. Moreover, that’s why Ramadan is well known as the month to renewed commitment to complete and recite the meaning of text of Holy Quran. Our Muslim friends are encouraged to finish the recitation of the Holy Quran at least once during the month. In the Holy Quran, it is said “I breathe into him my spirit (28:72), and people learned the spiritual exercises from prayers, meditation, the fasting, and charity to remind them that the body is a founding presence for the Spirit. Experiencing the Spirit of Ramadan reminds people to value their bodies as a sacred place and to reconnect deeper with mindfulness attitudes toward God.

During Ramadan fasting, there are two traditional meals: suhoor and iftar. Suhoor is early morning meals done before fasting starts at dawn, while iftar is done to break fasting at dusk. Ramadan is a commemoration of the closeness with God, community, and family, also a great time to embrace new people into our group. When inviting your loved ones for iftar, it is encouraged you invite someone whom you don’t know.   Create room particularly for people who are without family, friends, or partners during this holy month, to develop our ideas and our hearts of the meaning of community.

The Muslim community who experiencing Ramadan not only strengthen and supporting each other spiritual state, but also participating in global universal value of humanity, by conveying energies of faithfulness, ego-transcendence, and love into the collective soul.

Ramadan concludes with the three-day Eid Al Fitr holiday celebrating the whole of the fasting. Our Muslim friends mark Eid Al Fitri with a special morning prayer, then followed by spiritual graduation and chance to apply all the important spiritual lessons during the month. Muslims dress in their best way and celebrate with families or relatives as celebrating sense of community. In conclusion, Ramadan is truly special month to have divine connection with God, to experience spiritual lessons of humanity, and to be closer with families, friends, and communities.

Clarissa Tanurahardja grew up in Jakarta and Daejeon. Although Clarissa is herself a Catholic she feels blessed to be in the company of her Muslim brothers and sisters for this special month of Ramadan. She believes religious tolerance and accepting of diversity to be an important cornerstone within Indonesian society.