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Ramadan is a sacred and joyous time for Muslims, and Montreal-based social media creator Sara Sabry wants to help all of us spread a little more kindness through Facebook and Instagram's #MonthOfGood campaign.
"The #MonthOfGood is an initiative Facebook started, and basically, it's to celebrate the month of Ramadan, which is the holiest month of the year for Muslims," says Sabry. "The idea is just to spread goodness around and do acts of charity, or just be nice to your neighbours, whatever it is. It's just honestly a month of spreading good, as the name says."
Social media is also a great way to spread a little kindness and show support for the Muslim community.
"This year I've been loving seeing non-Muslims saying things on their Instagram, like 'happy Ramadan to everyone celebrating' or people on the street saying happy Ramadan," she says. "Just the fact that they acknowledge that this is something that is happening."
The Egyptian-Canadian also teamed up with Instagram to create The Ultimate Guide to Ramadan to help people understand the event and act as an educational resource.
"We've been really starting this conversation on Facebook platforms and stuff like that, encouraging people to do small acts of good," Sabry explains. "It could be something like treating someone to iftar, which is the break of fast, or it could be something like giving an extra tip to a delivery person. Especially with the pandemic, we have to get creative to do acts of kindness without really being face-to-face."
In case you're not familiar with Ramadan, here's what Sabry wants you to know about the holy month.
"Ramadan is the month that Muslims fast from basically dusk till dawn, and they fast from food and water, she says. "It's a time of virtual connectedness, it's a time of detox, and kind of soul purification in a way. So it's kind of like that one month a year that Muslims really look forward to."
"I grew up in Canada and a lot of people would be like 'oh my god, you can't eat all day?'" Sabry recalls. "They'd be like 'not even water?' I'd be like 'nope, not even water' so people like, might have a negative connotation around Ramadan, but a lot of Muslims actually really look forward to Ramadan. It's something that we wait for all year. Although it might sound difficult from the outside, it's kind of like a holiday for us. It's something that we really, really look forward to."
If you have any questions about Ramadan or anything about the Muslim faith, Sabry encourages you to ask questions, even if she hears the 'not even water?' question all the time.
"I love these questions, honestly, because it kind of gets the conversation started," she says. "And you know, growing up and people asking questions about the hijab, it's just, kind of... there is no bad question. As long as we're starting a conversation and we're educating, I think it's awesome."
Sabry acknowledges that not being able to meet up with friends and family for iftar and get-togethers has been difficult, but she has noticed some unexpected perks.
"I'm kind of very, very grateful to get the time to disconnect," she explains. "With Ramadan, sometimes you don't get to take time for yourself and really connect spiritually, so there are benefits. Some things you do miss, like the night prayers we do at the mosque and connecting with people in your community, so those are big challenges, but at the same time, we're getting more time alone to focus spiritually."