Muslims take pains to abstain from anger during Ramadan

Source: Chicago Tribune

Parents learn to control temper while fasting

A frazzled, home-schooling mother of three, Olivia Kompier has been known to lose her temper when she’s well-nourished, but even more so when she’s dehydrated or hungry.

That’s why the prospect of giving up routine meals during the daylight hours of Ramadan doesn’t daunt the Muslim convert as much as the sacred mandate to abstain from arrogance, envy and anger.

When the ninth and holiest month on the Islamic calendar starts Wednesday, Kompier will launch her most pious pursuit yet — controlling her temper. She will chronicle her spiritual quest on screamfreemuslims.com, a blog she launched last year after training with the Scream Free Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Georgia that helps parents respond rationally to their children’s behavior.

“It blends so beautifully with Islam,” said Kompier, 26. “Our religion already teaches us to control ourselves, teaches us to pardon people, teaches us to forgive people, teaches us not to argue. … It very much coincides with it because the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, taught us how to have the best manners and the best character.”

During Ramadan, Muslims are commanded to fast from dawn to dusk as a show of patience and virtue. The fast not only prohibits eating and drinking during daylight, it also forbids vices such as smoking, profanity and ill temper.

Families rise before dawn to pray and share a light meal called “suhur” in Arabic. They gather again at dusk to break the fast and share a meal called “iftar.” Muslims who fail to pray five times a day year-round make a concerted effort to do so during the holy month.

But managing one’s anger can be especially difficult for parents who are hungry and thirsty from the Ramadan regimen, exhausted from rising early to eat and pray, and trying to love willful children.

“On a normal day, you’ve eaten, you’re well-rested,” Kompier said. “When you’re fasting, you’re coming from a different place. You’re coming from a hungry, lethargic place, so definitely your emotions tend to strike at you much more sharply. … If you learn to control your emotions when you’re fasting, you’re good to go.”

Avoiding anger is considered a priority during Ramadan based on the “hadith,” the sayings of the prophet, and the Quran, the holy book that Muslims believe was revealed to Muhammad during Ramadan 1,400 years ago.

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