In Islam, the 9th month, Ramadan is set aside as a time for intensive
spiritual practice. Muslims add an additional evening prayer, commit to observing all aspects of Islam with greater care, and most famously, take on the rigorous practice of fasting from day break to dark everyday for a month. In addition, Muslims believe that all holy texts, the Quran, the Hebrew Bible, etc. were revealed during the month of Ramadan. Body-based, rigorous spiritual practice is the seat of revelation.
Here is what the Quran, the holy book of Islam, has to say about the spiritual practices of Ramadan:
The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran; a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, a number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that perhaps you may be thankful.[Quran 2:185]
In that Islam makes use of an exclusively lunar calendar, Ramadan falls during a different time each year. This year, in coincides with the second half of the 2021 Spring Cleanse. Its instructions provide guidance and a challenge for those who are cleansing now.Those who think that intermittent fasting is a 21st century eating trend are unfamiliar with Ramadan. Physically, those who take on this rigorous daily fast experience the many benefits of intermittent fasting, including weight loss, reduction of toxins in the body, and suspension of some disease processes. With such an extreme fast, practitioners must be wary of negative heal consequences as well, including dehydration and a long-term decrease in overall metabolic rate.At Awakened Body, we are inspired by Ramadan's pairing of the physical and the spiritual. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims work with the body as a tool and vessel for personal transformation. The result is revelation.Whether or not you are part of the 2021 Spring Cleanse, be inspired by the Muslim observances in the month of Ramadan, and consider the following:
- Add a daily fast to your cleanse.
- Awaken for a cup of herbal tea during the dark peaceful hours before sun rise. No matter the stress and pace of the hours that follow, starting one's day when the natural world is cool and still lends a sense of ease to all of the moments that follow.
- Notice those fasting or starving around you. Once you set the intention to see this, you will begin to notice those who cannot eat in your midst, due to religious practice, illness or poverty. Pair your seeing with an act of generosity on their behalf, whether a kind word or a gift of some kind.
- Open to revelation, how ever it might arrive.
- Gather with loved ones after dark for an iftar or festive meal. Take the opportunity to share inspiration that arose for you during the day.During Ramadan, Muslims great one another with the phrases "Ramadan mubarak" meaning "may you have a blessed Ramadan" and Ramadan kareem" which mean "generous Ramadan."