Ramadan: Month of Peace

I was born into the religion of Islam. My mother converted in her teenage years and my father converted later in life. My parents converted during a time where Islam was empowering black people. Not having respect in your own country did a number on us as black people but the religion of Islam helped instill self-respect as well as build a community. My name, Isa Abdul-Quddus, came from my father. I never had a good relationship with my dad. My only memory of him is him hitting my mother on my 2nd birthday. My resentment for my father pushed me away from the religion a bit. I didn’t want to be anything like him so I resisted everything I thought he was. So growing up, I claimed to be Muslim because of my name but I did not dive into the religion. It wasn’t until recently I got closer to the religion and that started with Ramadan.

Ramadan is the 9th month on the Islamic Calendar. During this month, Muslims around the world fast while the sun is up for the entirety of Ramadan. Fasting includes no food or water but also no anger. Ramadan is a month of peace and if you get angry, you break your fast. It is a time where we connect closer to our loved ones and our religion.

The first time I fasted was 2 years ago. This was in the middle of one of the darkest moments in my life. A year removed from my career-ending injury, I was still dealing with the pain from my arm as well as the emotional pain I was going through. In the beginning, it was rough. I struggled through the days and tried to do minimal movement to conserve energy. By the end of Ramadan, however, I felt a newfound sense of pride in myself. I felt like I could accomplish anything since I just went a month without food or water during the day. It was tough but I made it through!

My 2nd year fasting was a lot easier. I found a routine that worked for me. I drank a smoothie in the morning and I did more during the day to work up my appetite. By the 2nd week, I felt way more energy than I ever had throughout the day. This was the first time I actually enjoyed fasting. By the end of the month, I wished that it lasted longer.

Currently, I am enjoying my 3rd fast. I am about halfway through Ramadan and I must say I’ve never felt better. I've been more productive than I’ve ever been, Ramadan or not. Ramadan teaches me to center myself. Not having food or water in my system throughout the day allows me to deal with the purest version of myself. It still gets tough at times but I enjoy the challenge now. Ramadan has brought me not only closer to my religion but also closer to peace.

Isa Abdul-Quddus is a former NFL Athlete, playing 6 years at safety for the Saints, Lions and Dolphins. After suffering a career ending injury, he took his focus to sharing his story, emphasizing on mental health. Isa also loves music (Hip Hop and R&B), film and reading.