By Dr. Mike Ghouse, New Age Islam
04 June 2019
Whether you are an Atheist, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian,
Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Native American, Pagan, Shinto, Sikh, Wicca, and
Zoroastrian or from any other tradition, you may feel a sense of connection
with the spirit of Ramadan.
Mouthwatering food pictures and a few celebratory
The best way to build cohesive societies is for its members
to understand each other’s sorrows and joys, and festivities and commemorations.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you know a little bit about your neighbor’s festival and
perhaps invite them to your celebrations? When we live in a community, we might
as well learn about each other.
Almost all people celebrate something or the other in their
way, each one is different, but the essence is the same that is celebrations
and commemorations. Festivities bring people together. Here we explore Ramadan,
one of the major festivals of Muslims.
wish your Muslim friends “Eid Mubarak” Happy Eid, Ramadan Mubarak, Eid-al-Fitr
Mubarak… or just Happy Ramadan will do.
Rituals signify the milestones in our daily lives. Every
significant moment of the day is a ritual.
Every faith is composed of a set of unique rituals to bring discipline
and peace to human life. Fasting is one of the five essential rituals that
Muslims around the world observe.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and
is generally observed with a ritual precision; it is an annual training or a
refresher. It requires one to abstain from food, drink, intimacy, ill-will,
ill-talk, ill-actions and other temptations from dawn to dusk, every day for
the whole month. One has to rise above his or her baser desires. Islam gifts
this month to its followers to teach discipline to bring moderation to their
Although Ramadan is popularly known in the west for its
culinary delicacies and fancy iftars, the spirit and intent of Ramadan lie in a
human transformation in a month-long inner spiritual journey of finding oneself
in tune with spirituality.
Hindus can see that transformation in nine days of fasting
during Navaratri, the Jains in 8-10 days of fasting during Paryushana,
Christians during 40 days of lent, Jews for seven days around Yom Kippur, and
likewise you find fasting is a way of life in most traditions.
God has no need for the hunger or thirst of someone who
hurts others, violates their dignity, or usurps their rights. The consciousness of behavior and vigilance
over action are the most profound dimensions of fasting: the fasting of the
heart focuses on the attachment to the divine. That is when Ramadan becomes a
source of peace and solace, just as Christmas or Dussehra goes beyond the
rituals to bring forth kindness, charity, and caring.
True fasting is self-purification, and from this comes an
abundant inner life that brings about values such as justice, generosity,
patience, kindness, forgiveness, mercy, and empathy — values that are
indispensable for the success of the community.
For fasting to be truly universal, its benefits must extend
beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims and must continue to forging a common
humanity with others. Fasting is meant to impart a sense of what it means to be
truly human, and its observance reflects its universality in Baha’i, Buddhist,
Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian and other faiths.
The Day of Eid
The number of days one fast corresponds with the Moon cycle,
which varies from 29 to 30 days in a given month. At the end of the fasting period, it is time
to celebrate! It is thanking the creator, observing a disciplined life, and
To make your celebration wholesome and guilt-free, you thank
the Lord for your blessings and share a portion of your income with the
underprivileged, so they can also celebrate along with you. When you uplift
others, your spirit is lifted as well. The idea is to fill the environment with
positive energy. Paying Zakat is one of
the most important duties of a Muslim. Zakat is like income tax, and it is
roughly 2.5% of your earnings. However, it’s voluntary and an honor system.
Chand Raat – When you see the pencil-thin moon on the
horizon, it signals the end of fasting and the start of celebrations. The
evening is shopping spree and gifts are bought for the loved ones.
Eid – Festivity.
The whole community gathers up in the morning around 9.00 AM, wearing
new clothes, new perfume and thanking Allah for completing the blessed month of
Practices differ in each town. In Dallas, Texas, they rent
the Auto Exhibit hall in Fair Park or the Convention hall that seats about
25,000 people, together they pray and celebrate the festivity. They do the same
in Louisville, Ky. In Yelahanka, my
hometown, a suburb of Bangalore where I was born and raised. The entire town
gathered at the Masjid and walked about a Mile to the Eidgah – a place for
Back in the late 70’s Bollywood film actor Mehmood lived
near my town, and he invited his friends for Eid celebrations at his home.
Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, and other actors joined in the Eid prayers
Eid is also a day to pray for the deceased; almost all
Muslims visit the cemeteries and pray for their loved ones. It is one of the
most beautiful prayers that seek forgiveness for all humanity, for the living,
and the deceased. The Navkar Mantra of Jains is very close to this Muslim
Most Muslims visit the Cemetery on the day of the Eid. You
can visit any cemetery to pray for the loved one buried anywhere. And pray for
the entire humanity by using the words for the deceased and the alive.
Typically, it is a day to clean your slate, seek forgiveness
from the ones you have hurt or forgive those who have hurt you. When you see
Muslims hugging each other, it is washing off ill-will from their hearts for
A request to our friends from across the world – the cuisine
I have included is from South Asia. InshaAllah, next year, if you send me the
pictures of your cuisine from any part of the world, including our Native
American brothers and sisters to MIkeGhouse@gmail.com, I will put together a
comprehensive article with foods from around the world.
The most popular dessert of Ramadan in South Asia is “Dum
ke Saviyan” (Sauteed vermecellis), and “Sheer Qurma” – that is
vermicelli’s cooked with milk, cashew, raisins, and other dry fruits. My
favorite! I drink it as a beverage!
Biryani is the most popular food in South Asia, and it is
the dish prepared to honor your guest. There are varieties of Biryanis like
Kashmiri, Lahori, Multani, Bengali, Punjabi, Kabul, Rangoon, Colombo (Sri
Lanka), Bombay, Delhi, Lucknow, Bangalore, Kerala, Goa, and Hyderabad. The best
of all the Biryanis is the Dum ki Biryani from Hyderabad, it is the way it is
cooked, the spices are evenly distributed, the moisture remains consistent and
the rice is usually fluffy and the meat melts in your mouth. If you have not
eaten Hyderabadi Biryani, you have not eaten good food. Goat Biryani is the
most common item in South Asia, and am sure each one of the countries in the
world has their own. My native American Muslim friends make things out of corn.
Bhuna Gosht –
Grilled Mutton- My favorite. My late wife Najma used to mix rice with the
nearly burnt sauce at the bottom and hand feed me… I can never forget those
Cooked Keema – delicious with the Paratha
This is paratha – layers of puffed pastry. What a joy it
is to eat with the Keema
Anday ka Salan – Egg curry
Mirchi ka Salan
Baghare-Baigan (Egg plant)
Dum ke Saviyan – Sauteed Vermicellis
Dum ke Saviyan – Sauteed Vermicellis with fruits
Sheer Qurma – I make it more liquidy and drink it as a
beverage in a cup.
Most people have an open house on the day of the Eid, check
with your Muslim friends and visit them and enjoy the fellowship and food.
I have kept the article brief to keep with within 1000 words
if you would like to see Eid pictures from around the world – send me an email
to MikeGhouse@gmail.com – I will send you the links.
# # #
The book: American Muslim Agenda
What does it take to create cohesive societies? A step by
step manual and a road map for Muslims.
Mike Ghouse is the author of the book, American Muslim
Agenda. He is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism. More about
him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeghouse/
THE BOOK: American
It is a Muslim effort in building a cohesive America, where
each one of the 323 Million Americans feels secure about his/her faith, race,
ethnicity, culture, sexual and political orientations. We are Americans, we are
free and brave people and have to live freely and jettison our apprehensions
about each other. If you are a conservative, grudgingly, you'll see the value
in it, and if you are a moderate, you'll dance with joy. You can order the book
from Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Google, and other book stores. The
talking points are at ww.
Ghouse is a public speaker, pluralist, author, interfaith wedding
officiant, and the executive director of
the Center for Pluralism in Washington, DC. He is committed to building
cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His CV and a 60 page-pictorial accomplishments
are appended to his profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeghouse/
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