Muslims are seeking a deeper spiritual experience this year.
Ramadan is about 60 days away now, and yes, it is coming up fast once again. Like every year, we always pose the personal question "How do I make the most of this coming Ramadan?"
TIMEZ5 Labs, has conducted a 3,456 participant survey globally at the end of Ramadan in 2016, we found that only 19.56% of Muslims felt they had taken full advantage of their Ramadan. Surprisingly, this had dropped from Ramadan 2015 by a full 26.11% from a total of 45.67% who felt they had taken full advantage of Ramadan in 2015. "We found that a sense of more spirituality is what Muslims are seeking this Ramadan 2017," said Nader Sabry the CEO and Founder of TIMEZ5 Global Inc. He also added that "We live in stressful times and spirituality is central to work-life balance."
Why the drop, and what is happening? We have conducted a post-Ramadan survey every year since 2013 and have decided to look forward by putting a pre-Ramadan survey in place. Our pre-Ramadan 2017 is all about how Muslims plan to take the best advantage of their Ramadan this year.
We found five main themes emerging from the comment thread about being more health and wellness aware and wanting a deeper, more meaningful experience. During our one-on-one interviews, we found that several Muslims seek a more in-depth way of engaging in Ramadan to enrich their ability to feel the spirit of the season.
Deeper experience of generosity
Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed said that they want to become more involved in the process of generosity. In being part of the process, most of them are seeking unique and more efficient ways to reach those in need. Several participants feel that just giving money to a third party charity is not enough. They want to see, feel, and experience those who are receiving their generosity, especially those whom they cannot reach themselves.
Less TV, more Internet
Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed said that they plan to spend less time on TV programs and more time on the Internet. They feel that the Internet and social media are more embracing and better aligned with enhancing their spirituality for Ramadan. Over half of the participants enjoy using social media to enhance the depth of their spiritual experience although, in contrast, sixty-four percent said that they don't always agree with the content being posted.
Sixty-three percent of those surveyed stated that they plan to continue to enjoy their traditional Ramadan dishes but are concerned with nutrition. When asked, most leaned towards using organic ingredients as part of their quest towards being healthier. Two-thirds of those surveyed said that they typically gain weight during Ramadan but don't want to repeat that again. Aside from organic food, 71% stated that they will combine a diet with other activities to maintain their health during Ramadan.
Working out before iftar
Sixty-one percent of those surveyed said they plan to work out for 30-45 minutes before iftar to enhance their health. One-third of those participants stated that they had done this for the past three Ramadan's. So, more Muslims are seeking to become more active before enjoying iftar delights. The majority of those who will engage in pre-iftar activities plan to do it at home. Convenience and motivation are highly correlated to the success of being more active during Ramadan.
Breaking fast at work
Seventy-three percent of the participants said they would be most likely fasting more often with their peers at work than with family. Surprisingly, many pointed out that they had been working twice as hard this year due to more competitive economic conditions. Many interviewees felt it was more or less business as usual and this would not impact their spirituality.
In conclusion, these five trends for 2017 have one common theme: Muslims are seeking a deeper, richer and more fulfilling spiritual experience in 2017. With the current lifestyle and work stress we face today, it is worth asking ourselves the following question:
"What unique approaches will Muslims use in 2017 to enrich their spiritual experience in Ramadan?"