Ramadan 2017 is over. No more daily fasting, no more praying for two hours at night in the mosque, no more iftars (breaking of the fast at sunset) and no more Eid al Fitr celebrations to end the holy month. Muslims around the world eagerly look forward to Ramadan every year even though for many it’s a time of hardship. For almost sixteen hours a day able-bodied adults abstain from food and water from sun-up to sundown. In hot, blistering climates like the Middle East and here in Phoenix that’s a notable accomplishment. Imagine yourself going through an entire work day and into the evening without a single drop of water or munching on a cracker. It’s not easy, right? Muslims do that for the entire month. Why fast? To understand what poor and disposed people go through. They’re hungry and thirsty all the time. The media portrays in vivid detail the flow of immigrants fleeing the savage Syrian war. Through day and night into the unknown, maybe under bombardment, they march ahead often without food and water hoping for safety. Fasting during Ramadan is a choice. Hunger and thirst for many Muslims though is not a choice. During Ramadan, there are fundraisers for worthy causes. We help each other. That’s what Islam teaches us to do. I will miss praying at the Chandler mosque. I will miss being invited for iftars. But the special closeness we all feel during this month doesn’t end. It only gets grows and becomes stronger. It makes us closer to Allah, it makes us better Muslims, better human beings, and better able to carry on our work to bring about positive change in our community and our world. In Surah 5, verse 93, “For God loves those who do good.” Ramadan is a time of doing good. After Ramadan, we carry those lessons learned and continue to do good with those around us. As the sheik said on the last day be proud of who you are. Go forth and show people why you are a Muslim. Show them the goodness and mercy of Islam. To all my brothers and sisters around the world, may Allah continue to bless us all. There’s a lot of hard work ahead. The world around is in turmoil. Hatred rears its ugly head not just at us Muslims but towards many others. Hatred is scary, it harms, and it is wrong in any community. We must stand strong with our neighbors and be united. Hilary Clinton’s campaign slogan was we are better together. She was right. We really are better together. I look forward to the next Ramadan and to serving our community in the best way I can.