For young Muslims who have attended Islamic school, or have homes in which Islamic practices are relatively regular, Ramadan is a norm that they are expected to observe.
However, for some youth, Ramadan isn’t as familiar. They might hear about it now and then from the news or from books, but since their homes aren’t as observant of the special month, they too remain unaware. Don’t assume that just because someone is not fully practicing, that they are doing it on purpose. Most of the time, they just don’t know.
Just as we would want our fellow brothers and sisters to encourage us in our Deen, we should be just as energetic in helping others.
“And remind, for verily the reminder benefits the believer” (Quran 51:55)
Here are some ways we, as Muslim communities and as individuals, can provide reminders to these youngsters without seeming intrusive or preachy.
- If those kids attend Sunday school, be sure to explain the month thoroughly and have relevant activities.
- If you have children who attend public school, teach them how to describe Ramadan to their non-practicing Muslim friends, and invite those friends over for Iftar someday.
- If you happen to know that someone is Muslim, or if someone says Salam to you in the grocery store, engage in small talk and subtly bring up the topic of Ramadan and fasting. Maybe it might inspire them to ask more questions or to look into it further.
- If you have any Muslim youth in your neighborhood, go to their homes to share some traditional Iftar food items.
- Social media is one of the fastest and most efficient ways today to raise awareness about any topic. Post relevant articles and status updates about your Ramadan preparations. You never know who that one simple post can inspire.
- For Muslim Students’ Associations - hold special Ramadan activities throughout the month (not just one Iftar party at the end of Ramadan) and publicize the events before Ramadan starts through social media, flyers, etc.
- For the Muslim community – Contact local high schools and middle schools and inform them that you would welcome any volunteers to come and help during weekend Iftars. Often, schools hold a requirement of community service for their students, so many students can come with the intention of just gaining hours, and as a result gain a new experience and exposure to the Muslim community as well.