On Thursday, SpongeBob SquarePants, one of the most popular children shows of all time, shared a picture depicting the cartoons main characters SpongeBob and his sidekick, Patrick, wishing Muslims a “Ramadan Mubarak”.
The upload erupted a buzz of positive outpouring from online users expressing their joy toward the simple gesture.
“Wishing everyone a Happy Ramadan!” read the post, which was published across the cartoon’s social media platforms with over 54 million followers combined.
Funny yet important
Many joked about the message coming all the way from the Bikini Bottom residents, with one twitter user calling SpongeBob a sheikh, while anotherdeclared they no longer need the moon to confirm it’s Ramadan, because SpongeBob did.
Another shareda funny anecdote of how Ramadan would look like there with the beloved starfish Patrick ordering the infamous “Krabby Patty” at three AM, most likely for Suhoor.
Besides the obvious fun, many more welcomed the endeavor the show runners decided to take because of how rare it is to see friendly and optimistic messages towards Muslims.
“It is incredible how far a simple depiction of SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star celebrating Ramadan can go in making Muslim Americans feel seen, heard, included, and embraced in American media,” Wa’el Alzayat, CEO of US Muslim political action committee Emgage, was according to The Arab Daily News.
Not Arabic Attire
However, the sweet picture went through a careful examination by online Muslims, especially regarding SpongeBob and Patrick’s choice of clothing. An old cultural ownership debate between Southeast Asian countries Malaysia and Indonesia began around the characters’ Ramadan outfits.
Though everyone took their side of the argument, many pointed their appreciation of considering Southeast Asian cultural references instead of Arabic. This comes in efforts to broaden the view of Islam in the US and around world, in addition to diminishing the mainstream notion that Islam is an Arab religion.
SpongeBob SquarePants has been on the air for 20 years and is the fifth longest running American animated series. The show has generated more than $13 billion in merchandising revenue for Nickelodeon.
Whether you’re Muslim or non-Muslim, there are many ways someone can participate in Ramadan festivities – by gaining knowledge through a fellow Muslim friend during this month, or simply trying to find more ways to participate during Ramadan as a way to gain even more rewards.
What is ‘Ramadan’?
Ramadan is a time to gather and observe the ninth month of an Islmaic calendar year by abstaining from indulgence and praying to become closer to God. The month of Ramadan is a sacred month because it marks when Allah (SWT) gave the first chapters of the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad. Let’s dive right into the conceptual of Ramadan.
What is ‘suhoor’?
Suhoor is the meal consumed before sunrise as the meal before the day of fasting begins. This meal is very important because those that fast need to make sure they have an intake of meals that will give them high energy, throughout the day. The day of fasting lasts from sunrise to sunset, which means participants need to ensure there is enough energy, especially if they are working, as well.
How many times do we pray?
In our daily lives as Muslims, we are asked to pray five times a day, whether it’s during Ramadan or not. The five prayers are named Fajr, Zuhur, Asr, Maghreb, and Isha. After suhoor takes place, it’s time to pray Fajr because Fajr also takes place prior to sunrise. The next prayer, Zuhr, takes place after noon. In the late afternoon, Asr takes place followed by Maghreb, which happens after sunset. Lastly, Isha prayer happens before going to sleep, as a way to remember God before heading into the night.
What is ‘taraweeh’?
During Ramadan, there is a voluntary prayer offered which is called, Taraweeh. Taraweeh is led by the congregation as a way to listen to the recitation of the Qur’an and as a way to pray voluntarily. This process, in itself, is extremely spiritually beneficial and is one of the gifts we are given by Allah (SWT) during the month of Ramadan. **Please note, that not all Muslims sectors partake in Taraweeh.
What is ‘iftar’?
As mentioned before, Maghreb takes place when the sun sets, as does iftar. A Muslims’ fast opens up when the sunset has taken place and Maghreb time has begun as well. Typically, you open your fast with something small such as a date or dried fruit before going and praying Maghreb. After praying Maghreb, Muslims continue to eat their larger meals as a way to give their body the fuel needed after fasting, since sunrise.
Who can fast?
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, which means we are all obligated to fast, but there are exemptions. People who are recognized as exempted from fasting include those who have health problems – being ill or having to take medications. Also, women who are nursing or pregnant – nursing and pregnancies, both, are times where your body needs continuous nourishment. Women who are menstruating are not allowed to fast, during this month, as well.
Why do Muslims fast?
The question is often asked – why do we fast? As Muslims, we’re granted this month by Allah (SWT) as a gift to become closer with Him. By praying and doing things like reading the Qur’an, we bring knowledge into our minds and remembrance into our hearts. Ramadan is a month of bringing our relationship closer to God and giving back, in small ways such as charity, donating to the local mosque, and many more – anything small counts.
We hope that this article was informative. Feel free to share this with your friends and inshAllah you can make the most out of the Holy Month. Ramadan Kareem!
Ramadan Kareem to you all! The Muslim Team wishes you well during this time, and we hope that this Holy Month provides clarity and ease on to you and your loved ones. We understand that the current circumstances do not allow us to have the most eventful Ramadan, but may Allah (swt) reward us for our patience, and allow us to grow and learn throughout this time.
Knowing that Ramadan will be going digital this year, we hope to become a central online safe space for our community, and ensure that we make the most out of this Holy Month.
Muslim is proud to announce that with Muslim Girl, we are partnering up with Instagram for the entirety of Ramadan for our #MonthOfGood campaign. The initiative with our campaign is to have the Instagram community share their acts of good — big or small — over the course of the month and to encourage others to do the same, while using the hashtag #MonthOfGood.
We will be posting a Q&A on our Instagram story every Monday where your responses will be shared over on our “Ramadan Radio” livestream with Muslim Girl on Tuesdays @ 3PM EST. We have many very special guests that will be featured, so stay tuned for the line up announcement that will be coming out soon! In the meantime, be sure to head over on to Instagram and share a good deed while using the hashtag #MonthOfGood, and be sure to tag @Muslim for the chance to be reposted on our social media. We created a fun-interactive Ramadan good-deed bingo that can be found on our Instagram highlights here.