TEHRAN (IQNA) – A College of Maryland Muslim scholar underlined that the holy month of Ramadan is an important non secular academic establishment.
“We will consider it as an ethical college. A faculty which teaches us excessive morality, self- restraint, self-discipline, persistence and, in fact, charity, by feeling the ache of others, and, due to this fact, studying to share all the pieces we have now with others,” Dr. Sahar Khamis, who’s initially from Egypt, informed IQNA in an interview.
Dr. Sahar Khamis is an Affiliate Professor within the Division of Communication on the College of Maryland, Faculty Park. She is an skilled on Arab and Muslim media, and the previous Head of the Mass Communication Division in Qatar College. Dr. Khamis is a media commentator and analyst, a public speaker, a radio host, and a former Human Rights Commissioner. She is the co-author of “Islam Dot Com: Modern Islamic Discourses in Our on-line world”.
Following is the total textual content of the interview:
IQNA: Islamic teachings emphasize that fasting has a really direct affect on human morality and spirituality. What do you think about to be an important ethical results and virtues of fasting?
Khamis: I imagine that some of the essential virtues and ethical results of fasting is instructing us self-restraint, which implies learn how to self-discipline ourselves and learn how to management even our halal needs and permitted methods of life, like consuming and consuming. When we have now this sort of sturdy will, willpower, and perseverance, we will probably be extra able to controlling all our wants and needs, even after Ramadan.
In reality, I think about Ramadan to be an important non secular academic establishment. We will consider it as an ethical college. A faculty which teaches us excessive morality, self- restraint, self-discipline, persistence and, in fact, charity, by feeling the ache of others, and, due to this fact, studying to share all the pieces we have now with others.
I’m an Egyptians-American, and again residence in Egypt we use the phrases “Ramadan Mubarak,” in fact, which implies “Have a Blessed Ramadan.” However we additionally use the phrases “Ramadan Kareem,” which implies Ramadan is beneficiant, as a result of it’s the time of generosity, charity, and giving, once we actually attain out to ease the ache of the poor and people in want.
IQNA: One of many points extremely emphasised by fasting folks helps out and sympathizing with the poor through the month of Ramadan. Why is that this situation emphasised a lot?
Khamis: I believe Islam is a faith of social justice. It highlights this precept of social justice, by urging Muslims to interact in charity to ensure all people has sufficient to eat, sufficient goodies, and sufficient sources. This may solely occur once we really feel different folks’s ache and struggling, which is among the most essential virtues of fasting, and due to this fact, we change into extra inclined to share no matter we have now with others.
So, we are able to say that this entire thought of charity and philanthropy and feeling the ache of others may be very a lot emphasised in Islamic teachings, typically, and within the context of fasting, specifically.
In reality, I’m really writing a analysis paper proper now about American Muslim philanthropy through the COVID-19 pandemic. This analysis paper tackles the completely different types of charity and charitable actions that the American Muslim Group has been partaking in, particularly throughout COVID-19 Pandemic disaster, which incorporates donations and giving to completely different charities, homeless shelters, serving to the poor, the needy, the hungry, the aged, and the sick, not simply from among the many Muslim group, but additionally different communities, each inside and out of doors the USA.
I imagine that it’s crucial to really feel the ache of “Others.” In different phrases, not simply those that belong to our personal group, group, or faith, however everybody who’s a part of humanity at massive, as a result of the Holy Quran says: لَقَدْ كَرَّمْنا بَنِي آدَمَ
This verse signifies that Allah, the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful, has dignified all of Adam’s offspring, which implies all of humanity. Subsequently, we have now to increase all of our acts of charity, philanthropy, giving, and solidarity, not simply to different Muslims, however to everybody else, no matter race, shade, ethnicity, or faith.
IQNA: Yearly, Ramadan allowed households to assemble collectively to finish their quick throughout Iftar. How is that this completely different this yr, as a result of constraints related to the coronavirus outbreak?
Khamis: In fact, celebrating Ramadan through the pandemic may be very completely different. Final Ramadan in 2020 and this Ramadan in 2021 are very completely different. Prior to now, we used to have huge gatherings throughout Iftar, and households acquired collectively in massive numbers to rejoice and break their quick collectively. This has not been potential final yr and this yr, due to the pandemic and the social distancing restrictions.
So, many individuals are arranging smaller gatherings or socially distant Iftars, and generally even an internet Iftar, by way of Skye, ZOOM, or different internet-based functions. I’m a member of various interfaith teams, and I’ve been a part of a few of these on-line Iftars by way of Zoom and different on-line functions.
In fact, these on-line, internet-based Iftars are very completely different from having the entire household collectively. Additionally, as I discussed earlier than, I’m an Egyptian-American, and again in Egypt we used to have huge household gatherings over Iftar, which may be very completely different from the Ramadan local weather in the USA.
So, I need to say that the general Ramadan celebratory setting may be very completely different in Egypt in comparison with the US, and in addition completely different within the pre-pandemic period in comparison with the post-pandemic period.
Nonetheless, we have now to be taught to regulate and adapt to all of those conditions, allowing for that an important factor is sustaining excessive spirituality and a robust reference to Allah, by reciting the Quran, fasting, prayers, and charity.
I believe that there was extra emphasis in final yr’s Ramadan in 2020 and this yr’s Ramadan in 2021 on the person points of worshiping, praying, fasting, and reciting the Quran, within the absence of the collective gatherings and social celebrations which we had been used to earlier than.
IQNA: What’s the position of fasting and different acts of worship in Ramadan in self-purification and self-control?
Khamis: As I discussed earlier than, Ramadan may very well be finest described as a faculty instructing us excessive morality, spirituality, self-restraint, self-discipline, and persistence. A few of my non-Muslim mates oftentimes exclaim: “Oh my God! How will you quick for thus many hours for 30 days? You don’t even drink water? Not even water?” They’re at all times very stunned on the lengthy hours of fasting with out meals or drink for 30 days in Ramadan.
However I take a look at it as a type of coaching. God needs us to apply self-discipline, self-control, willpower, persistence, and perseverance, which I imagine are crucial qualities for constructing our personal personalities and our characters, as sturdy believers and robust human beings. These are a few of the most essential classes we are able to be taught from fasting, within the first place.
IQNA: How can Muslims use the non secular potential of the holy month to indicate their lifestyle to non-Muslims?
Khamis: I believe an important factor is reaching out to “Others,” outdoors of our personal small group or group, for the reason that thought behind giving and philanthropy isn’t just giving charity to our personal group, however actually setting instance and being position mannequin, by serving to whoever wants our assist, no matter whether or not they’re Muslim, or not.
Subsequently, we have now to present generously to completely different causes, shelters, homeless folks, the poor and the needy, the sick and the aged, no matter race or faith, particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic disaster, as a result of better want for folks to present throughout this tough time.
I imagine that the Muslim Group, typically, and the American Muslim group, specifically, set an ideal position mannequin and a very good instance within the areas of philanthropy, charity, and giving, throughout this disaster, which is absolutely spectacular.
I’d be joyful to share my analysis paper on American Muslim philanthropy through the COVID-19 pandemic disaster, as soon as it’s completed and revealed Inshallah.
IQNA: As a Muslim, what attracted you to fasting?
Khamis: I grew up in a non secular family, and my household at all times confused the significance of adhering to faith and making use of spiritual teachings, together with praying, fasting, reciting the Quran, and completely different points of the Muslim religion, Alhamdulillah.
So, once I was 9 or 10 years outdated, I began fasting half a day solely, and once I grew older, I began fasting the total day, and in a while I educated my very own youngsters to do similar. So, fasting is one thing we be taught from our circle of relatives and we apply it all through our lives, Alhamdulillah.
IQNA: What good recollections do you might have of fasting?
Khamis: I used to be born in Egypt, and Egypt has a really completely different setting on the subject of celebrating Ramadan, in comparison with many international locations all around the world, whether or not you might be speaking about Western international locations, Center Japanese international locations, and even different Arab international locations.
Egypt’s very celebratory setting through the month of Ramadan is really distinctive and spectacular. You possibly can see lights, candles, and decorations all over the place, folks eat particular kinds of sweets pastries, and so they break their quick with particular drinks, and, in fact, there are the gorgeous, massive household gatherings over Iftar.
There have been even some particular Ramadan songs again residence that I bear in mind very nicely, and, in fact, I miss this particular, magical Ramadan setting very a lot, as a result of even when we have now some huge mosques, and an ideal group, right here within the state of Maryland, the place I stay in the USA, it’s not the identical like Ramadan’s spirit in Egypt.
In fact, through the COVID-19 pandemic disaster folks haven’t been going to the mosques in Ramadan in massive numbers like earlier than. Final yr, all mosques had been fully closed, as a result of pandemic, and this yr only some mosques are open with strict guidelines, akin to social distancing, carrying masks, restrictions on the quantity of people that can attend, and requiring prior registration first, which is a really completely different Ramadan setting, for positive.
IQNA: Might you please share a few of your reflections on Eid al-Fitr?
Khamis: An estimated 1.8 billion Muslims world wide rejoice this nice day, which marks the top of 30 days of fasting within the holy month of Ramadan. This lovely celebration and these nice moments are one other alternative to indicate the cosmopolitan nature of the Muslim group, which consists of significantly numerous teams, when it comes to race, shade, ethnicity, gender, and era, to say just some points.
So, I believe that Eid al-Fitr, is a wonderful alternative to indicate this sort of distinctive Muslim mosaic, which displays the wonderful range and plurality inside the Muslim group, at massive.
In fact, Eid al-Fitr this yr may even be celebrated in a different way, in comparison with earlier years through the pre-pandemic period.
Most significantly, identical to final yr, most mosques won’t maintain a daily Eid al-Fitr prayer, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic disaster. Some mosques could have a Zoom Eid al-Fitr prayer, which may be very completely different from the common prayer, in fact, whereas different mosques are anticipated to rearrange a small-scale Eid El-Fitr prayer within the mosque with restricted numbers, social distancing, masks, and prior registration. I hope to attend certainly one of these prayers to mark this essential spiritual celebration Inshallah.
Interview by Mohammad Hassan Goodarzi