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A Spiritual Scene from Turkey: The Month of Ramadan

Harun Pirim

RAMADAN İS a month that is longed for by Muslims around the world. As evidenced within its text, the revelation of the Qur’an began in this month. Due to this distinction, the month of Ramadan is called ‘the month of the Qur’an,’ the word of Allah. It is a month of care and calibration in which the values forgotten in the business of daily life are remembered and negative or bad habits are struggled to be ensued. Likewise, through fasting in the month of Ramadan, the bounty we possess, that may often be overlooked in the bustle of life or attributed to tripartite of nature, causes, and coincidences, is remembered as a blessing from Allah. People are drawn into understanding and appreciating the blessing of even a little piece of dry bread. In addition to having the opportunity to reflect on the Creator’s favors, the consciousness of staying away from disciplining one's eating or drinking to follow their Creator’s will strengthens their faith and hearth. People are not only left to struggle with their bad habits concerning their material life, but also their spiritual life. Ramadan is a medium keeping one away from negative behaviors, such as backbiting, ill-speaking, and similar. It is a climate, a month that returns human beings to the meaning of their humanity. The end of the month brings one of the Muslim world's major feasts, Eid al-Fitr. Every Muslim is required to donate the amount of a meal to a needy person on the morning of this feast. The month marked by a flow of charity and care ends with a special help on the day of celebration.

How is this climate felt in Turkey? Recitation of the Qur’an: at mosques, waqfs, which are charitable foundations, and independent gatherings organized at homes. Treats and sharing food that encourages helping the needy and reinforces solidarity: numerous iftar tents at every corner of the country offering free meals at the time of breaking the fast. People share meals and break their fast together in these tents. The awakening of the mutual consciousness of piety/righteousness through various iftar invitations and shared iftar experiences. Special radio and television programs dedicated to iftar and sahur times. The joy of the hearth gained through the conversations enriched by spiritual themes in these programs. The giant “Welcome Ramadan” signs ornamenting the minarets of the major mosques in Istanbul and other cities are like the attire of the spirit of Ramadan. It is a common scene to witness food distirubition to those who are stuck in traffic and will not be able to make it home in time for iftar. Similar treats on the streets are offered to those who just left their work and will not reach their home for iftar. In some cities, it is very likely to hear a cannonball before the adhan.

In short, people in Turkey share, help, and extend their compassion to the needy in Ramadan. They send praise to their Creator, get a chance to better understand the value of the bounties they have, and hone the spiritual side of their being.


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