This season brings a confluence of two important events for me as an American Muslim, one spiritual, one civic. Ramadan, which coincides with August this year, is the sacred month when Muslims believe God revealed the text of the holy Quran to the prophet Mohammed. And Sept. 11 is the day when my country was attacked as never before, as well as when my faith was tarnished as never before.
Many Muslims would cringe at juxtaposing Ramadan and 9/11. Yet both the holy month and the coming 10th anniversary of 9/11 call on our higher senses of humanity and citizenship.
During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, sensual pleasures, and vain talk during the daylight hours, focusing on charity, sacrifice, self-discipline, and introspection. Rather than using our free will to pursue whatever animal instincts appeal to our lower minds, Muslims believe we can reach our highest potential by disciplining and ultimately elevating our minds and bodies.
The burn of hunger, giving one's money to others, and performing extra prayers can be painful, and the temptation to go the easy road is always there. But by taking the hard road, I hope to end up with a healthier body, better relationships, and ultimately a satisfied conscience. (More)