O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint (Quran 2:183)
It is easy to become over focused on the food and drink component of Ramadan. In fact, in more modern day times, people may faithfully abstain on the physical level from sunrise to sunset, and lost track of the spiritual component that comes from fasting. Imaam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali identified three layers to fasting ordinary fasting (which is the abstinence on the physical level, special fasting (which goes one layer deeper, and you are paying attention to the activities of the body), and extra-special fasting (which goes even deeper into the activities of the heart). Ramadan provides an opportunity for a spiritual cleanse from within, to bring your heart, body, mind, and spirt into an alignment as a springboard for the rest of the year. It is a time for introspection, and to really look within to bring yourself towards integration
Manal Omar will discuss the three layers of fasting, and how to create an anchor point during the month of Ramadan to carry forward with you throughout the year. What spiritual practices can you introduce and commit to yourself to enhance the fasting experience. Perhaps entering into silence for the last 10 days, or setting intentions before dusk. Through exercises for integration and deeper inner understanding, fasting can move beyond the physical benefits into a deeper layer that provides insight into the year ahead.
Ramadan is one of the most sacred months of the year in Islamic religion. Muslims observe the month of Ramadan, to mark that Allah, or God, where the Holy Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad During Ramadan, Muslims fast, abstain from pleasure and pray to become closer to God. It is also a time for families to gather and celebrate in remembrance of the divine. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar based on the cycles of the moon. The Quran and Islamic tradition emphasize that fasting is an ancient healing and spiritual tradition that has been practiced before Islam and maintained by the tradition due to the depth of its impact
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Manal Omar is the founder of Across Red Lines, dedicated to women’s leadership through accessing life force energy and deeper understanding of rights through a faith lens. She designed and led multiple development and training projects in the Middle East and Africa, and provided media and policy support on youth and gender programming on a global scale. She served as the Associate Vice President for the Middle East and Africa Center at US Institute of Peace under the Obama Administration. She set up programmatic operations in Iraq. Omar was named among “Top 500 World’s Most Influential Arabs” by Arabia Business Power in 2011 and 2012. She was also recognized among the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” by Georgetown University and The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in 2009. In 2007, Islamic Magazine named Omar one of the ten young visionaries shaping Islam in America. She was honored by her alma mater as one of the top 50 Exemplars in 2018.
Omar holds a master's degree in Arab studies with a concentration in Economics and Development from Georgetown University and a bachelor's degree in International Relations from George Mason University. Manal has a certification in Global Mental Health – Trauma and Recovery from Harvard Medical school and is currently a student at Sex Coach University in California. She is a Truman National Security Fellow and an inaugural Foreign Policy Interrupted fellow dedicated to including women in foreign policy and peacebuilding.