A WORD FROM QUEEN RANIA
With those words, Muslims the world over greet each other during the Holy Month of Ramadan. They express the joy of “Ramadan the Generous”. Some of you, unfamiliar with the observance of Ramadan, might only know that Ramadan is a time of fasting and hardship. So I would like to share with you why it is also a month of great joy, family cohesion, and community solidarity.
Ramadan is a time for reflection and contemplation which makes it especially spiritually rewarding. Observant Muslims must refrain from eating, drinking, smoking or having physical relations from sunrise to sundown. You can imagine how hard it is to go all day without even a drink of water, especially in the hot, dry lands of the Middle East. But this sacrifice and discipline is designed to make us aware, in a very tangible way, of the suffering of those less fortunate – those who may not have life’s basic necessities.
In the same way, by foregoing daily indulgences, we learn to appreciate them more than ever, and be grateful for what we have. Every evening for the entire month, families and friends gather together in the minutes before sundown with a sense of excitement and anticipation for the traditional meal of Iftar, the breaking of the fast. And, believe me, nothing tastes as good as that first sip of lentil soup after you have been fasting all day!
In most Islamic countries and communities, we spend our evenings enjoying special Ramadan events and festivities, attending concerts of traditional music, visiting with friends and relatives, or just watching special Ramadan programs on television. Such special and simple pleasures seem especially sweet after the rigors of the day’s fast.
Most importantly, there is a heightened sense of community during Ramadan. Donating to charity, empathizing with the sick and vulnerable, and contemplating the bounty with which God has blessed us are all important parts of Ramadan. This is the time when communities all across the Islamic World undertake charitable endeavors focusing attention on those most in need. In Jordan, for example, we encourage donations to the Al-Aman Orphans’ Campaign: a special fund for supporting Jordanian orphans after they graduate from care centers. This fund enables them to pursue education, skills and training thus ensuring they will become independent and succeed in our vibrant national community.
Thank you for joining me our celebration of this joyous month. During this month, when we feel that God hears our sincerest prayers, I pray that all of you, no matter what your religion or nationality, will know the peace of a blessed Ramadan.