Saturday April 2, 2022 marked the beginning of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month, the sacred month for Muslims, of the Islamic calendar. Ramadan is characterized as a month of self-reflection, increased spirituality and focus on attending to one’s relationship with God through prayer and reading the Qur’an, increased attention to generosity and charity, and fasting from dawn to sunset. Ramadan lasts about 30 days and culminates in the festival of Eid-al-Fitr or “Eid.”
Although there are about 3.5 million Muslims in the US Ramadan, like many other non-Christian holidays, is not widely acknowledged and observed. As a result, many folks do not have information (and racist, Islamophobic misinformation) about Ramadan. It is important that non-Muslims educate ourselves to better understand and support our family members, friends, colleagues, and clients of the Islamic faith.
Sara K. Ahmed writes:
Muslims can be peppered with “Ramadan 101” questions as the holiday approaches. Being on the receiving end of that can be tiring for people who are the lone cultural representatives in the spaces they occupy. Over time, these questions, some with a tone of teaching the Muslim about Ramadan and some sprinkled with bias and opinion, however well-intentioned, become microaggressions.
Here are a few of the gems:
- So, what is Ramadan about?
- Why is it so cruel?
- So, you don’t eat for 30 days?!
- Fasting is fine, but why can’t you drink water?
- Can I eat in front of you?
- Can you chew gum? Can you brush your teeth if you can’t drink water? Can you take breath fresheners?
- So, you can’t have water?
A great way to satisfy curiosities about cultures is to read about them… And because we know that Google and YouTube are free, we encourage you to get your inquiry on!
Here are some resources that folks can use to learn more about Ramadan, the Islamic faith, and some Muslim practices:
- A NON-MUSLIM’S GUIDE TO RAMADAN IN THE WORKPLACE
- Not Even Water – Stories of Ramadan
- Ramadan: 9 questions about the Muslim holy month you were too embarrassed to ask
- 11 Awkward Moments That Happen During Ramadan
- A Mighty Girl book search
- A Brief History of the Veil in Islam
- Debunking Stereotypes About Muslims and Islam