When I was younger, I loved Ramadhan because of the lavish meals we had in the evenings with family, and the penny sweets I’d savour after completing my fast. But now I’m older and have kids of my own, I love it because it is the one month in the year that brings me back. It’s the month I finally focus and remove distractions, so I can ensure I do my best spiritually and ‘sort myself out’.
We don’t have social iftaars any more. Now, Ramadhan is about reconnecting, renewing and re-energising for the rest of the year. And the amazing thing is this month is always the booster shot I need. And a few months before it, each year, I know I need it to come around again soon because my focus is waning and I’m not as spiritually aware as I could have been and that I haven’t been spending my time in front of my Lord, as I should be.
Despite me making intentions all year round, I finally adjust my schedule to ensure I read the Quran every day and stay up late in prayer, benefiting from the peace that descends. And that peace is so wholesome, yet I just can’t bring myself to wake up at 3 a.m. the other eleven months of the year.
And I love it most because it’s the month of charity. For me, it is the month of helping as many people as possible. I give all year round, of course, but in Ramadhan everyone I know waits for me to find a suitable charity. It’s become a ‘thing’ because I painstakingly research the charity and project I’ll support to ensure the money will go to the beneficiaries and isn’t spent on admin or marketing fees.
This year, the charity I’ve been working with in Syria for the last few years have asked me to help raise money for twenty severely malnourished children in Idlib. And because I know Ramadhan is the month in which most of my family and friends will pay their zakat, I will be asking for their support first. I am so lucky they’re super generous and always help me reach my target each year!
So for me, Ramadhan is about two things: slowing down and raising as much money as possible to help those most in need. I’m really looking forward to doing these two things.
I hope we all can find those moments of peace, reconnect with what is most important and make the most of the multiple rewards showering upon us in this blessed month. Ameen!
A. M. DASSU is the internationally acclaimed author of Boy, Everywhere, a Waterstones Children’s Book Prize shortlisted book, also nominated for the Carnegie Medal and an American Library Association Notable Book. She is former deputy editor, now an Advisory Board Member of SCBWI-British Isles’ Words & Pictures magazine, a director at Inclusive Minds, which is an organization for people who are passionate about inclusion, diversity, equality, and accessibility in children’s literature, and one of The National Literacy Trust’s Connecting Stories campaign authors, aiming to help inspire a love of reading and writing in children and young people. She writes books that challenge stereotypes, humanize the “other”, and are full of empathy, hope and heart. Her next novel, Fight Back is out June 2nd 2022. You can find her on Twitter as @a_reflective, on Instagram as @a.m.dassu, or at amdassu.com