Reflections on Ramadan and beyond

ramadan new moon
Muslims wait for a new moon to mark Eid Ul Fitr

Aaliya Afzal, Student Communications Assistant in Student Services, shares her story on coming out of 'hibernation' following a month long fasting period, why she's looking forward to Eid and her key takeaways from this time of reflection.

Eid Ul Fitr

Eid Ul Fitr translates to 'festival of breaking the fast', and so comes after Ramadan; a month dedicated to abstaining from food and bad habits to reconfigure one’s goals and recognise what is really important. It is also a time to work on oneself and reflect on one’s relationship with Allah (SWT).

For me, Eid is a time to enjoy delicious food but also catch up with family. With lower energy levels and so less ability to socialise during the month, Eid is when we get to come together and update one another of what’s been going on and how Ramadan has been for each of us.

In my family, everyone sort of hibernates during Ramadan; getting on with day-to-day life while trying to get as much from this time as possible. The latter of which can be a struggle; there’s almost a self-imposed pressure to take full advantage of every moment of the month and always feeling like you’re falling short, which is something I’ve experienced in the past. But now I have a better mindset and tend to not compare myself to others, feeling as though they are doing better like it’s some sort of competition. “You are trying your best and improvements, no matter how big or small or frequent or infrequent, are invaluable” I repeat to myself.

I remember telling a colleague at work about how we don’t have an exact date for Eid… ever. It differs from Christmas in this way, which is always on the 25 December, unless you’re of another Christian sect. Instead, Muslims wait for the arrival of a new moon to mark the festival, but we can estimate. That’s why some people, depending on the country/group they follow, will observe Eid on a different day. When I informed my colleague, her reaction was priceless; "That is so interesting! I’ve never heard of something like that!". This year it’s predicted on the 9 or 10 April. I’ve taken both days off work (plus a cheeky extra day) just in case!


I’d like to take the time to reflect on what I’ve focused on during Ramadan, since it is a time of deliberation as much as self-control. What I’ve learnt I hope to continue in my daily life, regardless of whether it is Ramadan or not. That’s the goal, really.


Being honest is important and I admit that my change in behaviour and mindset during Ramadan has often not been linear, meaning I have ‘fallen short’ on some days, acting and thinking in ways that stray away from the core of Ramadan and what the month symbolises. Whether that’s a flash of anger and unreasonableness or a feeling of ingratitude. But the important point is the willingness to try to adapt one’s behaviour and to have the ability to hold oneself accountable. It is noted in the Qur’an that Allah rewards our efforts and to my understanding, does not merely accept us when we are perfect and polished but while we go through human struggles. As long as we go back to Him.


There is so much I, and we as a society, should be grateful for. By abstaining from food and drink, Muslims feel empathy with the less fortunate. At least our abstinence is self-inflicted, and we have a hearty meal in the evening to relieve ourselves. The less fortunate often do not. You don’t have to fast and be Muslim to want to change your thinking and strive towards being more thankful. If you have a roof over your head, the ability to see, walk and talk, money in your bank to buy food and other essentials, safety and the love of those around you, you have everything. I’m very guilty of complaining and having a ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ mentality, especially in the age of social media where you see people leading what you might describe as ‘perfect lives’. I continue to have moments of envy, wishing my life was as exciting as those jet-setting and going on wild adventures. But it’s something I will continue to work on and try to catch myself doing in hopes that I can live a more fulfilling life. “Comparison is the thief of joy” or so they say.

Kindness and compassion

Sometimes people can be frustrating. Whether that’s walking to the bus stop, and a person bumps into you, knocking your bag off your shoulder before walking away without apologising. Or something else. But if we were all a little more compassionate and give people the benefit of the doubt, I think that would be positive. Maybe that person that bumped into you has received some hard news and is so in their own head that they didn’t realise they pushed into you. Now this doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to feel annoyed but it’s important to recognise that we’re all human and that rarely any of us are intrinsically evil and malicious. We’re just trying to survive and get on with things. All we want is to be understood and loved.


There’s lots of ways I’ve grown closer to Allah and my faith which are undoubtedly vital since Ramadan has a fundamentally religious basis and I do not want to ignore that. The above are shifts in my mindset that I hope to build on and weave into my daily life. Hopefully, anyone reading this can relate to some of what I’ve discussed and feel inspired to work on themselves too – Muslim or not.

I’ll be spending Eid at my grandmother’s house as she cooks up the most amazing, tasty food. She gets a lot of pride from hosting all of us and watching us devour her home-cooked creations. I’m going to really miss Ramadan, like a lot of people do, as although we can change our behaviour at any point, Ramadan offers a formal and explicit opportunity to do so.

It also offers a sense of belonging and community as Muslims worldwide feel connected and part of something bigger as we all pause our hectic lives to observe Ramadan. But before you know it, Ramadan 2025 will be here Insha’Allah (God willing) and who knows what my priorities and focus will be by then. Who knows who I’ll be by then.

Whatever you’re doing this Eid, I hope you have a great day. Eid Mubarak!

A backlit sign with the words Eid Mubarak


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