Ramadan is about looking within, enhancing our relationship with God. God is as much here in Ethiopia as He is back home in the States.

Anyone who has experienced the immense bliss of this month knows that it is a truly a gift, and every second of it is precious. This month is about sacrifice, spiritual cleansing and healing. Abstaining from food and water dawn to dusk are the basic requirements, but we Muslims also avoid distractions that take us away from the truth. We patiently preserve against our temptations whatever they maybe and work hard at disciplining our ego. It’s a month of wholeheartedly giving and forgiving. A month of quiet introspection. An empty stomach and an active mind can do wonders for the soul. This month helps us realize all that we are capable of achieving, and reminds us through prayer and practice we can achieve anything.

Two weeks in, I can say Ramadan in Ethiopia has been spiritual. It’s hard to truly reflect on what is occurring around me right now and still be present in the moment. It’s always been easier to reflect on the past and compare it to other experiences, so these feels are still very fresh, but I’ll try to share some of what’s happening here.

Ramadan is about looking within, enhancing our relationship with God. God is as much here as He is back home. But there are some places where the external noise is greater, more distractions that make it difficult to look within. Cities like LA where your every sense is exhausted by the noise of the cars, the large billboard in the sky, the nightlife, the shops, and fast paced life. These distractions make it a real challenge to actually see what is around us. God is easy to see here. He makes his presence known in the star lit sky during Suhoor, in the green of the forest, in the rain and thunder, in the kindness of people, in everyday language. The pace of life is slower here, more time is available to see and reflect. I feel no outside force trying divert me from my goal of becoming more aware and closer to God.

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