Ramadan is such a special, unique time. On the one hand the fast of Ramadan is the most personal and challenging act of worship that a person can dedicate to God, aside perhaps from the Hajj. On the other hand, it is a time of family and community. It builds and strengthens so many of the best aspects of human character: patience, compassion, perseverance, and taqwa (God-consciousness).
We fast not only from food and water, but from anger, impatience, corruption, selfishness, and causing hurt to others. We renew our spirits so that we come out of Ramadan with a new feeling of dedication to God, pledged to do better, and strong to face the challenges of life.
I always have mixed feelings about the coming of Ramadan. After all, it is quite difficult, especially during these summer months when the days are long and hot (not so much for those of you in Panama, lol, where the days are always the same length and the seasons are only rainy or dry - but here in Central California summer days are in the 100 to 110 degrees range).
On the other hand, it's such an exciting time, offering the prospect of spiritual purification and forgiveness from God. And that overcomes any trepidation that I may have.
At the same time, I have a major web project going on - a complete overhaul of the Zawaj.com Muslim matrimonial service. I'm excited about that.
Take care. My best wishes to all of you, regardless of your faith. Keep your heads up, know God, and know yourselves. If any of my Panama friends are reading this: Henry and Nora, Rudy and Christina, Cleo and family, Niko and family, Zach and Danyelle, Berliza and family, Dr. Medrano, Bill and Adam Brunner, Rosa and family, Listo, Ani, Corrin, Rene, and all the rest (forgive me if I did not name you!), you are all dear to my heart and I am thinking of you.
To my non-Panama friends, well, there are too many to list, so: Ramadan Mubarak, and peace be upon you.
I've been browsing the web, reading articles about Ramadan and looking at photos, and I have come across some of the most amazing and beautiful Ramadan photos. Here are the links for your pleasure. The first batch comes from Boston.com, published last year.
Next are some outstanding photos from Time Magazine:
And a couple of beautiful images from National Geographic (one photo per URL):