Culture and Traditions: Our Staff Share their Stories

At FSi, we want our staff to feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work. In light of this, we thought it would be inspiring to offer our staff the opportunity to share cultural traditions that are important to them and to their families. We’re kicking off this new series with Fawaz Maarouf, one of our mechanical designers, who writes about his experiences celebrating Ramadan.

Ramadan: Fasting, Reflection, and Community Bonding

by Fawaz Maarouf

As the month of Ramadan draws to a close, it’s a time for reflection on the experience of observing this sacred tradition. Ramadan is more than just abstaining from food and drink from dawn till dusk; it’s a time of spiritual rejuvenation, increased mindfulness, and strengthening bonds with family and community.

One of the most cherished rituals during Ramadan is waking up before dawn for Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal. Sharing this meal with my wife, Serene, in the quiet hours of the morning, savoring simple yet nourishing foods, we felt a sense of unity and purpose as we prepared ourselves for the day ahead.

As the sun sets, signaling the end of the day’s fast, the moment of Iftar becomes a time of anticipation and gratitude. Breaking our fast with a date, following the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), holds symbolic significance for Muslims.

In the initial days of fasting, the physical challenges can be daunting. Yet, as the days pass, a remarkable transformation occurs. Contrary to expectations, many Muslims report that their body adapts, and a newfound sense of energy and mental clarity emerges. I noticed this myself as the days went by.

This past Ramadan, my wife and I, along with her family, had the privilege of preparing Iftar for over 250 people at the Islamic Center of Tacoma. It was a humble experience to come together with members of our community to share in the joy of Iftar. Breaking fast with friends and community members is a cherished tradition during Ramadan. As we gathered each evening to partake in the iftar meal, the bonds of friendship and brotherhood/sisterhood were strengthened.

Central to the teachings of Islam is the emphasis on giving back to the community and looking out for one another. Ramadan serves as a reminder of our duty to those in need, and the act of preparing Iftar for hundreds of people exemplified this spirit of generosity and compassion.

Fasting during Ramadan transcends mere abstinence from food and drink; it embodies a sacred spiritual discipline prescribed by Allah to foster self-discipline, empathy, and a profound connection with the Divine. Beyond refraining from sustenance, Muslims consciously avoid negative behaviors such as gossiping, deceit, and anger, recognizing the transformative power of purifying both body and soul. This comprehensive approach to fasting is obligatory for all adult Muslims who possess the mental and physical capacity to observe it.

Non-Muslims can show support and solidarity with their Muslim friends and colleagues during Ramadan by offering a simple greeting such as “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Happy Ramadan.” Additionally, showing understanding and respect for fasting hours and accommodating meal schedules can make a significant difference.

By acknowledging and celebrating the traditions of Ramadan, non-Muslims can foster a spirit of inclusivity and unity within their communities.

As Ramadan ended, the anticipation of Eid al-Fitr is celebrated by Muslims worldwide because it marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. On this special day, Muslims gather for prayers at the mosque, expressing gratitude for the blessings received during Ramadan. The atmosphere is filled with a sense of renewal and Spirituality. Families and relatives come together to celebrate and share their joy.

Observing Ramadan is a deeply personal and spiritual journey, yet it is also a shared experience that unites millions of Muslims around the world in devotion, compassion, and gratitude. As we bid farewell to another Ramadan and embrace the joy of Eid, may the spirit of generosity, compassion, and unity continue to guide us in the days ahead.

Eid Mubarak to all!

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