Our People in Profile: Soroush Moghaddam says month of Ramadhan allows ‘time to think about bigger picture questions’
As a volunteer resources consultant, Soroush Moghaddam develops volunteer programs for five hospitals in the Antigonish, Guysborough and Strait areas. He also recruits new volunteers and supports existing ones as they lend their time and skills to support patient care.
Moghaddam’s approach to work is influenced by his spiritual and religious beliefs as a practising Muslim.
“It influences the way I think every day; the way I work every day.”
He said the Muslim teachings encourage him to ask, “What’s the right thing to do? How can I help? What more can I do?”
The month of Ramadhan is the holiest month of the year in the Muslim calendar, so is a particularly important time for Moghaddam. This year, the month of Ramadhan begins on May 5 and finishes with the celebration of Eid Al-Fitr on June 4.
During the month of Ramadhan, many Muslims, including Moghaddam, fast between the first light of the sun (morning twilight) and sunset each day.
“When you’re not distracted by food, you can have time to think about bigger picture questions,” Moghaddam said. “Fasting teaches us about self-discipline and about the difficulties that some people may face regularly. It helps to connect us with our hearts and spirituality.”
During the month of Ramadhan, Moghaddam’s morning routine involves getting up at 3:15 a.m. to prepare and eat his pre-dawn meal, followed by morning prayers.
Then he returns to bed until it’s time to get up for work. When the sun sets for the evening, he breaks his fast, praying before and after.
“The process becomes routine,” shared Moghaddam, noting that the first three to five days are the hardest as the body works to adjust. “You get used to it mentally and physically after three to five days.”
The month of Ramadhan ends with a celebration known as Eid.
“Fasting is strictly forbidden during Eid,” shared Moghaddam. “It is a time to celebrate, dress up, visit family, socialize, meet and greet. Children often get gifts. Everyone is generally quite happy.”
As with every religious or cultural group, Muslims are not a homogeneous people and Moghaddam stresses it’s important not to view them as such. Even the ways in which the month of Ramadhan is celebrated may differ somewhat among different Muslim groups and cultures.
Moghaddam came to Canada 23 years ago and began fasting 19 years ago.
He said sometimes people who aren’t Muslim are curious and ask questions, which he encourages.
“I don’t want anyone to behave differently or stress around me. If people are curious, come ask questions. It opens up the opportunity to have deeper discussions.”
As for Moghaddam’s experience as a Muslim in Canada, he describes it as “almost entirely positive.
“I’m very thankful to be where I am and to be able to hold the beliefs that I do at work and in my life.”