Originally published in Milwaukee Sentinel Journal
July 9 marked the first day of the month of Ramadan in the Muslim lunar calendar, and with its beginning millions of Muslims worldwide embarked on a spiritual journey to last 30 days. While some regard the abstention of food and drink for 15 hours a day as an incredible challenge, especially given the hot summer months, for Muslims the reward for fasting brings far greater pleasure than food or drink.
The Holy Qur’an says in chapter two verse 184 that fasting is prescribed for Muslims as it was for those who came before so that they may become righteous. I often find myself explaining to colleagues and friends that the notion of fasting did not originate within Islam, rather many ancient religions have suggested fasting as a means to gain nearness to their creator. Though the expectations of fasting differ, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and a number of other faiths have fasting in some form.
I encourage those who wish to build interfaith harmony to take note of this concept, for recognizing our similarities serves as a means to bring our communities closer together.
– Wajahat Ali