Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Ramadan Fast

To mark the start of Ramadan, I decided to do something I’ve never done before: I fasted. Muslims are instructed not to eat or drink during daylight hours during this month. Doing it for just one day, I thought, would give me a better perspective on the ritual of fasting and also provide an understanding of how physically taxing it can be. I must admit that I did not complete a pure fast because I woke up after sunrise. Nevertheless, I did not eat or drink between 6:45am and 5:00pm. As I found out, the fast is difficult as it demands extra concentration once hunger and thirst set in. Luckily I had the benefit of sitting in AUC’s air-conditioned buildings. The task of fasting during a hot summer without water is a daunting to say the least, and continuing this ritual for one month would certainly be a tremendous physical challenge. For Muslims, however, Ramadan is a sacred time, and the physical fast is only one aspect of a larger spiritual purpose. I cannot help but have tremendous respect for this display of discipline and devotion.

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