I'm not a religious Puritan.

I was president of a Jewish fraternity in college, have a love of hookah, dated my wife before we became married, wear shorts at prayers, and have a number of unendingly unorthodox positions on religious matters.

But what really gets to me as a Muslim is that we are in the month Ramadan, and I'm unnerved by those from our religious community who think this month's fasting revolves around drink and water. It's about actions as well.

I've heard mean gossip, swear words, snide remarks and now on Facebook, I've seen even memes making fun of famous people's looks from Muslims observing the fast. I've experienced people being aggressive and unfriendly because they want to eat or sleep or drink water.

The whole idea of the Ramadan fast is to restrain your ego (an-nafs), and teach yourself to find an inner calm while conversing with God. I urge my fellow Muslims to look within themselves and change what is ugly about our internal selves this Ramadan by seeking out The Eternal God, and reminding ourselves that we are just specks of carbon and water in a much greater universe.


Also: it was only when I lost my ego that I had any success in political activism. People with big egos rarely achieve truly good works.