This book arrived at a perfect timing for me as the holy month of Ramadan draws near. ‘The Gift of Ramadan’ by Rabiah York Lumbard, perfectly crafted a story that creates a mirror for those who celebrate Ramadan and a window of learning opportunities for those who don’t. This light hearted book has such a powerful message – Ramadan is a month of growing and learning, perseverance and coming together.
I love how young Sophia was determined to fast with her family. She went through the routine – having her pre-dawn meal (sahoor) which was challenging for Sophia as she had to wake up really early and eat a little. During praying (fajr) time she fell asleep on her praying mat. She still persevered and went through the day with enthusiasm but the day got harder and she found it difficult to maintain her fast especially when her little brother tempted her with cookies.
This image of Sophia persevering during Ramadan brought fond memories when my two girls tried to fast when they were young. I remember vividly how I explained to my girls that fasting is not about not eating and drinking from dawn to dusk, it is also about prayer, reflection, charity and sharing.
My favourite moment is the conversation between grandma and granddaughter. When Sophia caved in by eating the cookies, she was upset but her grandmother’s wise words strike a chord – "There's always tomorrow and the day after and the next. You have a full month to keep trying." That phrase alone warms my heart. Sophia's grandmother consoled and showed her that there are other ways to observe the holy time – like helping to get ready for iftar (the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset).
There are many books that talk about Ramadan. I like how this particular book speaks the truth and teaches us adults to be more compassionate with the young ones when they observe their fast.