I’m Kiran Waqar, the Social Media and Youth Engagement Coordinator of HEART, an organization working to promote sexual health, uproot gendered violence, and advance reproductive justice by establishing choice and access for the most impacted Muslims.
Listen to Kiran’s reflection
The other day I went over to one of my Auntie’s houses to make bread in the shape of a moon for the masjid potluck that night. And while the yeast was rising, she learned about a protest, happening right then, against a landlord raising rents on Muslim and minority owned businesses in Vermont. So we hurried, made signs, went out to the protest and showed up in solidarity with the community. Then we came back to finish making the bread and went to the community potluck. That’s the spirit of showing up for community care.
Ramadan reminds us to show up for community. When we’re fasting, everything becomes a little harder, whether making food or going to a protest. I’m not always as active while I’m fasting. But we continue to show up for each other in sustainable ways. If we are all able to collectively slow down and show up for each other for these thirty days, then we’re able to do that year around.
One of the powerful things about Islam is that we get to have such a deep connection with Allah: God is closer to us than our own jugular vein. In Ramadan, we get to determine what that relationship looks like: it’s between us and God and no one else. The month is about all the ways our community shows up for one another but also all the beautiful ways you can be in community with God.There is no one way of being Muslim and there is no one way of practicing Ramadan.
During Ramadan, we’re asked to do some deep reflection about how we can bring faith into our everyday practices, whether how we approach justice and community, or even things like bodily autonomy. Muslims have always respected bodily autonomy by practicing reproductive justice. We see this from the first Muslims in this country who were enslaved Black Muslims, and who paved the way for reproductive justice. At HEART we honor and find inspiration from that legacy in our faith and in our politics. The core tenets of Islam help us approach our faith in a pluralistic way which respects everyone.
During Ramadan, we are free to determine how we care for our community and how we engage with God. I hope you feel some of that freedom today.