How I learnt to appreciate Ramadan as I grew older

Ramadan is not just about fasting, but about personal growth and spending time with your loved ones as well.

Muhd Zahin Ilmi

Sports enthusiast and expert overthinker.

Published: 13 April 2022, 12:05 PM

Ramadan is widely known by Muslims all around the world as a holy month filled with joy and happiness. However, I never knew why people felt that way until I grew older.

As a pre-teen, I never fully understood the significance of Ramadan. Back then, I used to see it as merely a matter of fasting from sunrise to sunset, so I never gave it much thought. I even dreaded it in some aspects, such as the lack of energy to go about my day.

As a sports enthusiast, particularly football, I was never deterred from stepping onto the pitch during recess or co-curricular activity (CCA) sessions and playing my heart out even while fasting. 

While the temporary adrenaline made me feel like I was on top of the world, it would quickly be replaced with the feeling of dehydration and hunger, which inevitably got worse as the day went by.

Another part of Ramadan I used dread was waking up for my pre-dawn meals. Cutting my sleep short and waking up at five in the morning for an entire month was something I always despised.


Having to go to school after also made it worse as it often led to unproductive days where I was simply too tired to focus. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/MUHD ZAHIN ILMI


As a result, I always felt weary whenever Ramadan came around as I would spend most of my days during the month feeling extremely exhausted and unable to go about my usual daily routines.

However, as I grew older and got more used to Ramadan, I managed to look past the things I dreaded back then and learnt how to appreciate it a lot more.

One thing I realised as I matured was that Ramadan allowed me to spend more time with my family. During Ramadan, my family would always break our fast and pray together almost every day.

In the past, I used to think it was a regular routine that every Muslim family would go through. As time went by, I realised how the time I spent at the dining table and during prayers with my family brought me so much closer to them, and that some of my best memories were created during those moments. 


Breaking fast together at the dining table was always the highlight of my day during Ramadan as we could catch up with each other while rewarding ourselves after a long day. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/MUHD ZAHIN ILMI


Another aspect of Ramadan that made me appreciate it more was how it helped me in building my character.

From the times I used to starve after playing football, to the days in school where I felt like a zombie, Ramadan was never easy for me. However, that was exactly what had helped me to cultivate some very important values.

During Ramadan, I had to endure many physical and mental challenges throughout the day, which gave me opportunities to build up my resilience. In doing so, I was able to develop a strong sense of perseverance, which has allowed me to always push through in the face of adversity.

Ramadan has also helped me to develop my self-control and discipline.

While it is widely known that Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink during Ramadan, a lesser known fact is that we are also expected to refrain from practising bad habits and portraying negative emotions during the month. 

Having gone through Ramadan for many years, I was able to build up my discipline to have greater control over my emotions and urges, in turn allowing me to make better judgments.


Religious practices such as Terawih prayers during Ramadan also helped my personal growth by bringing me closer to God and helping me find inner peace. PHOTO CREDIT: RUNMAN AMIN VIA UNSPLASH


After all these years, it’s safe to say that my perception towards Ramadan has changed drastically for the better. From seeing it as a hassle back then, I now look forward to Ramadan each year in hopes of growing closer to my loved ones and improving myself.

While I admit that it does not necessarily get easier as I grow older and that there are still days where I struggle during Ramadan, I have definitely grown to love and appreciate the holy month a lot more now.

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