Ramadan is a time for Muslims to reflect, while giving back to this community | Opinion

As the holy month of Ramadan begins on March 23, Muslims around the world will observe a period of fasting, prayer and reflection.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn until sunset, abstaining from food, drink and other physical needs. This practice is intended to purify the soul, increase self-discipline and cultivate a deeper sense of empathy for those less fortunate. Muslims are also encouraged to engage in acts of charity, kindness and generosity during the month.

While the observance is rooted in Islamic tradition, it has broader cultural and social significance for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Ramadan is a time for increased community engagement, as Muslims come together to break their fasts and share meals with one another. It is with this spirit that Muslims invite non-Muslims to visit mosques to observe Muslims pray and join them in breaking the fast.

South Florida Muslims will have several open houses during the month of Ramadan where our non-Muslims neighbors and friends can learn about Islamic practice and join us breaking the fast, followed by dinner. Contact cosmosfla@gmail.com to learn more.

It is also a time for reflection and self-improvement, as individuals strive to be more patient, giving and compassionate. During Ramadan, Muslims tend to be more generous in supporting causes that help the community. In South Florida, we have a free health clinic, UHI Medical Care Clinic, uhicares.org, whose mission is to provide free healthcare services to the underserved population of South Florida regardless of ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation or religious and political affiliation. Our food pantries provide food baskets to needy families.

While Ramadan is a somber or austere time, observance can be challenging, with long days of fasting and increased spiritual discipline, it is also a time of joy and celebration. The end of Ramadan is marked by the festival of Eid al-Fitr, a time for feasting, gift-giving and expressing gratitude for the blessings in one’s life.

Starting with the next school calendar year, Muslim students and Muslim employees of Miami-Dade County Public Schools will be able to enjoy their Eid with family as Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations (COSMOS), along with the School Board and administrators, have made Eid a planning day.

Ultimately, Ramadan is a time for spiritual growth and personal transformation, as individuals deepen their connection to faith, family and community. It is a reminder of the importance of empathy, compassion and generosity, and a call to action to work toward a more just and peaceful world.

Non-Muslims can use this time to learn more about Islam and the diversity of its followers, as well as to engage in acts of kindness and charity. By doing so, we can embrace the spirit of Ramadan and work toward a more compassionate and inclusive society.

Shabbir Motorwala is a member of the Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations (COSMOS)