Ramadan is a month of fasting in which Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and other related activities during daylight hours. Every year this month falls on a different time, as it is based on the Arabic lunar month. Ramadan marks the month that the Holy Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

This is one of the holiest times of the year (because of all the holes we’re creating in our stomach…hehe sorry bad joke), as Muslims use this time to focus on their relationship with God, read the Qur’an, and purify the body. Donations to the poor from Muslims also always spike during this time, as spending the day hungry really makes you appreciate what you have and helps to better empathize with those who unfortunately don’t. By the end of the day, you feel a lot lighter, mentally and physically, and you learn to really appreciate and value food, and not take it for granted. During this month a lot of people also try to abstain from other pleasurable things such as listening to music, shopping, etc, in order to really try to detach themselves from the materialistic aspects of this world.

Traditional Moroccan "Iftaar," the meal eaten to break the fast at dusk.

Of course, not everyone is required to/asked to fast. Young children, the elderly, or anyone sick or traveling typically do not fast, as doing so could be harmful to the body, and therefore not productive. 

TL;DR: Ramadan is sort of like a physical and mental juice cleanser…except without the juice because it’s a fast…and it’s not aimed to make you lose weight (although you probably will!) but to lose excess and unnecessary distractions in order to focus on self-improvement and spirituality.

You learn self-control, empathy for your fellow humans, and strengthen your relationship with God.

So okay it’s not really like a juice cleanser at all. Scratch that part.

Ramadan ends with a massive celebration called "Eid al-Fitr" which includes a lot of eating (surprise, surprise), gift-giving, family time, long hours of dinner parties, and other traditions that vary based on culture and geographic location. This year, Eid al-Fitr will fall on Monday, July 28nd (wait that is actually tomorrow...) or the next day (it's based on the moon sighting!), so be sure to congratulate your Muslim friends on surviving another month of fasting!

But of course, you don’t have to be Muslim or even religious at all to fast! I encourage you to give it a go and try it out for a day or two (although the first week is always the hardest) and share your experiences!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments or speak with your local friendly Muslim.* Traditions and interpretations do vary, so for best results consult with a variety of sources!
*beware: during Ramadan we get a bit grumpy after a long day of fasting, right before sunset, so best to save the questions until after we’ve broken fast for the day ;)

Ramadan Mobarak/Ramadan Kareem/Happy Ramadan to all who are observing! (maybe) Last day!

P.S. Feel free/you’re encouraged to share this post with any and all your friends who might want to learn a thing or two about Islam/Ramadan. 
P.P.S. On that note I am severely backlogged with posts from Morocco so just hold tight!
P.P.P.S. Again, my apologies for not posting in forever! I’m trying my best to resolve this!
P.P.P.P.S. The first photo is a little sneak peek from a shoot with Youssef Harzy--can't wait to show you the rest of the shoot!
P.P.P.P.P.S (this is really getting out of hand sorry about that)

Thoughts and prayers are going to the hundreds of innocent men, women, and children currently being massacred in occupied Palestine #supportgaza
I really do urge you to, if you haven't already, read up on what is happening--more than 1000 deaths in 20 days is not making world headlines, so it's up to you to do the research and learn for yourself what the situation is on the ground right now!