(To contact Shaykh Jibreel or receive regular Ramadan communications, email jspeight@chapman.edu)


What would you say if someone – let’s call that person “M” – said to you that s/he is going to do a re-boot of his/her life-giving an elaboration on this action? You ask for M’s reason(s) behind the desire to do this “life re-boot,” as well as the employed measures behind this action. M informs you that there is in need for a spiritual, religious, social, physical, emotional, financial, and intellectual re-working and that this upcoming weekend will be the beginning of that effort for a month wherein it is 29 or 30 days.

M has been looking forward to this upcoming weekend. It is the month wherein a lot of people (about 1.5 billion or so) will be the beginning of a month’s extended set of activities. Evenings consist of prayer, and within the prayer is an effort to re-connect with the One that M glorifies. In the evenings, M will read a Holy Book that is a book of knowledge, light, guidance, mercy, containing clear lessons, a heart and soul-purifier, and clarifying what the meaning of life is. M is captivated by its implications and pauses to reflect on its passages. M may even break down and cry, recognizing his/her shortcomings.

Then M goes to bed.

Then M wakes up about an hour or so before dawn to eat a very early breakfast because once it arrives, there will be no eating, drinking, nor sexual intercourse.

M embarks on the daytime task of fasting, knowing that this is part of the process. M knows that some days will be more challenging than others but understands that fasting teaches patience, steadfastness, and certainty in relying and depending on the Higher power for strength and support. M is aware that fasting assists in perfecting character by remaining calm and reflecting on the ancestors who sacrificed so much of themselves building community while fasting. Understanding this and taking the necessary precautions, M participates in various community activities, including food banks offering words of encouragement to those who look sad.

M looks forward to supplicating throughout daylight because M is confident that a fasting person’s prayer will ultimately be answered. M prays that CoVid-19 will not dissuade the other 1.5 billion people who cannot eat together nor pray together in their holy sanctuaries from looking at this time as a time of disappointment and sadness but opportunity, hope, and, ultimately, holistic success. M prays that many others will be inspired to let this time be a chance to challenge their humanity.

As the day reaches sunset, M’s mouth is dry, and the stomach growls like a wild animal. M does not care for this is not as difficult as one may think, as this helps the body tremendously teaching it to eat for satisfaction and not greed and waste.

Sunset comes, and M eats some dates for natural energy and drinks water to quench the thirst. M is grateful for this day. M invites those who know her/him to join in this re-boot.

You who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may be mindful of God. Fast for a specific number of days, but if one of you is ill, or on a journey, on other days later. For those who can fast only with extreme difficulty, there is a way to compensate- feed a needy person. But if anyone does good of his own accord, it is better for him, and fasting is better for you, if only you knew. It was in the month of Ramadan that the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for humanity, clear messages giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong. So, any one of you who is present that month should fast, and anyone who is ill or on a journey should make up for the lost days by fasting on other days later. God wants ease for you, not hardship. He wants you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him for having guided you, so that you may be thankful. [Prophet], if My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be guided. (Holy Qur’an 2:183-186)