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PEACETALK: Ramadan Caravan: Sharing the Beauty of Islam

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Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is celebrated by Muslims the world over. It is the month when the Qur’an was first revealed, and fasting is prescribed to the believers so that they may “…become God-conscious.” (Surah Al-Baqarah: 183)

This year, I embarked on a month-long journey entitled “Ramadan Caravan 1445H/2024H” to spread the message of Islam to communities within and outside the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). 

The slogan of the Caravan is “Sharing the Beauty of Islam,” and its aim is to serve Allah by uplifting people’s spirits through His words and inviting people to experience peace within themselves during this month of mercy and healing. 

Souvenir photo taken after the lecture entitled “From Darkness to Light” in collaboration with the Office of the Mayor of the Municipality of Alicia in Zamboanga Sibugay.

After delivering 25 motivational speeches and counseling sessions to over 7,000 people in 14 cities and provinces, here are some of my learnings from this unforgettable journey to promote awareness on spiritual and mental health from the Islamic perspective:

  • There is an Islamic awakening within our women and youth and thirst for knowledge of the Qur’an and Sunnah
  • During our general counseling sessions, there were issues raised that put focus on the need to strengthen our families, improve the upbringing of our children, and better treatment amongst spouses
  • Mental health support through legislation and therapy must be given priority especially for our women and youth sectors
  • Verses from the Qur’an and narrations from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) served as reminders that have helped ease the pain and relieved worries of some of the audience
  • There is a general interest in having more access to inspirational content for professionals, students, and business people
  • The love for Allah SWT, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Islam can be felt immensely
  • Islam is a vehicle for peace and unity in the society

Connecting with people from all walks of life and having spent part of Ramadan with them was a truly fulfilling endeavor. The shared smiles, the laughters heard, and the tears shed became the source of strength for me to keep going until the end. Just before moon-sighting on the 9th of April, I finally traveled by land from Marawi City to Davao City on the last day of the Caravan. 

The Ramadan Caravan at the Sulu State College gymnasium. Contributed photo

A close confidant of mine told me that giving time to someone is giving part of your life to them. And to have given my life this Ramadan to the beautiful souls that I have touched, and whose stories have touched mine, have made this my best Ramadan to date. Alhamdulillah bini’matih.

May Allah SWT allow us to witness another Ramadan and accept our service for His sake. Allahumma ameen.

(Nur-Ainee Tan Lim is the head of the secretariat of the GPH-MNLF Peace Coordinating Committee. She is currently the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Social Services and Development in the BARMM. Her father is MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari)

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