The joy that millions feel as Ramadan comes upon them once more is difficult to put into words. Those who are not Muslim cannot imagine what Ramadan is really like. It must seem like a severe diet that lasts for a month. How, they say, can people look forward to going without food and drink between dawn and sunset for a whole month? And yet, that is what Muslims have done. They have looked forward all year to this one special month in the calendar, knowing that their fast will be total. They have prepared themselves for the fast, and now Ramadan is upon them they enter into it with their whole mind and body.

The reason for it is simple: They have been commanded by Allah to do so.

[O ye who believe. Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you. That ye may (learn) self-restraint.] (Al-Baqarah 2:183)

The fast is done for the sake of Allah alone. The joy that the fast brings cannot be described. The reward, in sha’ Allah, of the true and sincere fast during Ramadan is clear—Heaven itself.

For the Muslim, Ramadan is a time to set things rights once more, to sort out the priorities in one’s life. It is a time to make a new start and to take one’s religion seriously again, to be faithful to prayers, to recite the Qur’an, to give thanks at all times to Allah for His goodness. Ramadan gives the chance to start all over again and to forget the mistakes of the past. It is a time to spring-clean one’s spiritual house and invite Allah into every room in that house.

When each day’s fast is over there is a sense of joy and happiness. It is a time when Muslims share what they have achieved during the day. They are Muslims and they have fasted for Allah’s sake. At the end of each day’s fast everyone will be waiting for the muezzin to announce that it is time to break the fast. Radios will be turned on in anticipation of the call to Prayer. Throats thirsting for water will eagerly await the cry of “Allahu Akbar” to end the day’s fast.

From Cairo’s great Citadel, a cannon will announce that the day’s fast is over.

And yet, let us remember something very important. For many in the world, the sound of a cannon will not signal the end of their thirst, nor will the call to Prayer give them an opportunity for food.

Let us not forget that in Ramadan, as we rejoice and celebrate the end of each day, there will be many in the world who will starve to death because they have no food.

As we learn once more about the countless blessings that Allah showers upon us in Ramadan, let us not forget our brothers and sisters without food or drink. Let us be grateful every day—not only in Ramadan—for the good things of this life. We take many things for granted, like food and drink, like the love of our wives and children. Let us, this year, allow Ramadan to make us better people, better Muslims.

Idris Tawfiq