By Mudassir Raja
Ramadan is that time of the year when Muslims change their usual routine for a month. The changes are very significant and visible. People from other countries visiting Qatar during the holy month of Ramadan also observe these changes and react in their own ways.
Evridiki Ilioki is a Greek national, a certified leadership and life coach. She has been living in Doha for four years. Community recently spoke to her about her experience of Ramadan.
Evridiki considers herself blessed to be in Qatar during Ramadan. “I feel blessed to be here, especially during the holy time of Ramadan.”
She had absolutely no experience of Ramadan before she came to Doha; in fact, she was introduced to it for the first time here. “First of all, I was introduced to Ramadan from some dear Qatari lady friends of our community, who made us realise the holiness of the season by their life example. Now, Ramadan for me symbolises mainly: time of spiritual reflection and cleansing, increase in faith, charity and sharing.
“So as a spiritual detox, the fasting is not simply about denying your body food and water. It also involves arguably the challenge of avoiding ill speech, arguments, loss of temper and bad behaviour. The whole point of the fasting is to demonstrate devotion to God and keep the mind focused on a spiritual positive realm.”
Evridiki sees lots of benefits of Ramadan. “The benefits as I have learnt from my local female friends are: patience and mercy, which, let’s face it, we all need more of in these harried times. Ramadan is viewed as a holy, blessed month that leaves you with a developed sense of self-control and clear-mind in areas including diet, peace of mind and creating stronger family bonds.”
She now understands that Ramadan is not all about abstaining from food and water. “So, I understood that a very important part of Ramadan is spiritual cleansing. Having a dear friend in mind, I remember how after a day of fasting and praying made her face and skin glow. She looked calmer and happier. Then at time of Sohoor and Iftar, I get the pleasure to learn the customs and traditions of different foods that are served and experience the kindness of the great Qatari hospitality.”
As a life coach, Evridiki feels that Ramadan is a good time for people with stress to de-stress themselves by praying more and more to God. “Also, it is a great time for me as a coach, as I can encourage all my clients, but especially the ones with stress and anxiety to pray more and ask God to support them to find peace in their hearts. What a great time to cultivate more peace and light in our hearts.
“Especially in the beginning of Ramadan, I experienced some of the ladies in our community to be a bit nervous and restless, I see as they continue with their fasting regime, they feel better and better every day and then after about two weeks you start seeing the benefits in their physical and mental state. They start becoming more relaxed, peaceful, they smile more. As time is passing by, they are starting to feel happier and preparing for Eid, time to enjoy all the spiritual gifts they received from Ramadan with their loving family.”
Evridiki was born in Greece but lived for seven years in the UK. She is a certified leadership coach with an Applied Coaching Psychology background. She has 18 years’ experience in the sector of counselling/mentoring. She is now the head of How Women Work/HWWGLOBAL, a division of Elite Consulting LLC.
HWWGLOBAL is a reputable women’s organisation that promotes leadership in Qatar through executive/life coaching and educational retreats for the last 10 years.
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