SUITSUIT INSPIRED BY | Imane about Ramadan

Throughout the world, Muslims fast for a month during Ramadan. This month is dedicated to spiritual development, personal growth, and strengthening relationships. Entrepreneur and born Muslim Imane El Aoufi decided to focus more on her faith a few years ago. Since last year, she has been wearing a hijab (headscarf) and, together with her husband, she has set up a prayer room in their home. In this blog, Imane shares more about the role her religion plays in her life and what Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr mean to her. 

"I've done everything I thought would suit me, and I can never say later, 'if only I had tried this.'" 

About Imane 

Imane has interest in many different things, which is reflected in the wide range of degrees she has completed. She holds a Bachelor's and Master's in Media, Culture & Society, a makeup course, an acting course, and a Quranic studies course. During her Bachelor's, she started her own company: More Communications & PR, which she continued to work on diligently throughout her various studies. After completing her studies, Imane decided it was time to delve a little deeper into her religion. 

Learning more about the Islam 

Eventually, Imane decided to study the Quran. This is a Dutch study where a teacher of Islamic studies explained the Quran to her in a very practical way. "It felt more like a history lesson; the course was very accessible. I received explanations of all the verses in the Quran regarding their context and how we should understand and apply them in today's society. Even non-believers can take this course." 

Although her parents raised her as a Muslim, they allowed her to practice her religion as she saw fit. She did not have to wear a headscarf if she did not feel the need to. She didn’t wear one for a long time until she noticed her curiosity about her religion growing. "I wanted to complete the Quranic studies first, so I had all the necessary knowledge to decide whether I wanted to wear a headscarf," Imane explains. "Eventually, I started wearing it a little earlier than planned. The timing felt right, and it felt like the right thing to do." 

Imane explains that she needed to gain knowledge about the religion in her own way before she could express it. "There are plenty of people who have enough from upbringing alone and feel a strong connection to their religion from there. I noticed that I needed a bit more research and guidance. During the course, it truly became a part of my identity. Islam is no longer just something that's a little part of me; it is who I am." 

"It's important to think about how I can improve myself spiritually and personally." 

A time for self-reflection 

Ramadan is a time for reflection, peace, and transformation. It's a time to try not to get angry quickly, to forgive others, and to donate money if possible. Being kind is highly encouraged. "Ramadan gives you the opportunity to reflect on yourself: how have you behaved, and how do you want to behave in the coming months?" says Imane. 

For Imane, Ramadan also feels like unity. It doesn't matter where you live in the world: all Muslims fast during Ramadan. Imane says, "Of course, there are different ways and interpretations, but Ramadan is fixed for everyone. The sense of connection I feel might be comparable to what Christians feel during Christmas." 

"Our whole house breathes our religion; it's who we are." 

Separate prayer room 

A few months ago, Imane and her husband set up a separate prayer room in their home. Here, they can completely unwind and pray without any distractions. During Ramadan, Imane can often be found in the prayer room, taking extra time to reflect on herself and her religion. "This doesn't mean I only pray in this space; we didn't create the prayer room with that thought. However, it's nice to have a place where you have no distractions like a TV or work laptop." 

Last nights of Ramadan 

The last ten nights of Ramadan are extra special. One of these nights is Laylat Al-Qadr. This is a valuable night that is better than a thousand months. This means that if you stay up and engage in acts of worship that night, you will be rewarded with worship equal to a thousand months. This night falls on one of the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan. No one knows exactly when this night is. Therefore, it is recommended to give your best in all ten last days, hoping not to miss Laylat Al-Qadr. 

Imane believes it is important to devote extra attention and time to praying during these ten nights. For example, she ensures that she prays more and takes a moment to reflect on her actions during the night. 

Eid al-Fitr 

After a month of fasting, Ramadan concludes with Eid al-Fitr. Imane and her husband start the day by going to their local mosque, where the Eid al-Fitr prayer is performed. After this, everyone congratulates each other on successfully completing Ramadan. "We do this by saying 'Eid Mubarak' to each other, which means 'blessed festival,'" explains Imane. 

At home, Imane then changes into a festive outfit and visits family. Since getting married last summer, she not only visits her own family but also her husband's family. There, a lot of sweets are served, from cakes to candies and cookies. Some are homemade, but some are also bought from the supermarket. 

"My fondest memory of Eid al-Fitr was when our family drove to France to surprise my mother's family. I hope everyone experiences such a beautiful Eid al-Fitr!"