In our “A Scout is Reverent” series, Scouting Wire takes a look at how Scouting families across the country observe a variety of religious holidays of their own faith and support fellow unit members in theirs. Join us as Syed E. Naqvi, consultant at World Islamic Committee on Scouting, shares a unique perspective on the importance of Ramadan!
For those who may not know what Ramadan is, can you please tell us a little about this holiday?
Ramadan, the month of spirituality, education, and tolerance. This Islamic holiday is always observed during the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar, which is 11 days shorter than the solar, or Gregorian calendar. That means Ramadan moves through the months and seasons of the solar year; sometimes in the long hot days of summer and sometimes in freezing, snow days of winter.
Ramadan is the holiest month in Islam, and the practicing Muslims consider it a retreat camp to practice spirituality, discipline, kindness, forgiveness, giving, and charity as well as being educational and enlightening. Many pray more and spend time reflecting on the Holy Book, the Quran.
This year, Ramadan starts on the 25th of April. On the first day, many Muslims receive congrats from their non-Muslim fellows, and they feel proud of it. If you have Muslim friends, you may congratulate them by using the famous Islamic phrase, “Ramadan Mubarak!” (Happy Ramadan!). Most of them understand and even use this phrase, despite the fact that it is in Arabic.
Every day of fasting finishes around sunset by prayer with a traditional meal called “iftar” (breaking fast). Many break their fast with something sweet, like dates.
The holy month of Ramadan ends with a celebration that marks its end, known as “Eid al-Fitr” (Celebration of breaking fast). Many Muslims celebrate Eid by attending Islamic centers to perform Eid-Prayer, meet and exchange congratulations with community members, and giving gifts to children.
Do you know Scouts who have Scouting traditions connected to this holiday, and, if so, can you please tell us about that?
Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, it will be challenging for many of us. As we progress through this holy month, remember those who are in poverty, famine, or war that are also fasting in this unfortunate time of year, even without a major epidemic.
For Scout units that may have a member of Muslim faith, what are some considerations and ways these Scout units can show support for their fellow Scouts who observe this holiday?
While many think only eating or drinking invalidates fast during Ramadan, lying, gossiping, and other sinful acts also invalidate someone’s fast, and that is why Muslims are advised to make an extra effort to be more mindful of what they do during this blessed month. Many reset their year resolutions in Ramadan or start new goals for their spiritual growth. For units who have members of the Muslim faith, it’s very helpful to be mindful and considerate of these factors.
Special thanks to Syed E. Naqvi, consultant for the World Islamic Committee on Scouting for sharing his story with Scouting Wire.