Typically, the month of Ramadan is supposed to be one of peace. Those at war are to put down their arms in honour of the holy month, instead focusing energies on prayer and surviving the rigors of not drinking nor eating anything for the daylight hours. Knowing this, one would understand my confusion when I heard several explosions in quick succession that were so powerful, my windows rattled even though we are far removed from the center of conflict. At first, I thought it was the cannon marking the beginning/ending of fasting. I tried to string together a cohesive thought through the cloud of sleep: fasting is starting, no, it’s stopping, oh, it started again, now it’s over. Wait a minute! Oh, they are fighting. Why are they fighting? It’s Ramadan! And it’s 9 a.m.! Oh right, it’s 9 a.m. on my clock but it’s the regular-month-equivalent to three a.m.
My neighbours and friends probably went to sleep at around 6 this morning after filling themselves with a large pre-dawn meal before the cannon of fasting really did mark the beginning of the fast. Now they are all sleeping, so since the fighting used to happen at night when everyone was sleeping (and I’m assuming to avoid unnecessary casualties of innocent passersby), the schedule of clashes has now shifted to the new “night” of morning daylight hours. As per usual, the fighting has only lasted about an hour, maximum two. Quiet has resumed for it’s time that the vigilantes get some of their much needed rest and get on with their fasting as well.
I really hope that soon and very soon, the message of peace that is supposed to be at the heart of Islam would permeate the hearts of these people that are fighting so that Ramadan can really be a holy month set aside to focus on higher things. Let us not focus on what is before us with the eyes of our physical beings but with the eyes of our hearts, influenced by the Creator who values all that He has made.