Days 1-4 have passed in a flurry of acclimatizing to the new schedule (which makes all lunch meetings null and void); assimilating the true meaning and essence of the holy month and agonizing over reaching for the 4th samosa.
We’ve now fallen into some kind of a happy rhythm, without the tedious distraction of food – chiefly the mindless snacking and surplus cups of tea. Also, I find that I’m exonerated from arguments, fights, and other having the last word situations, thanks to the Holy Month represented in abject good taste with this meme (refer to OINTB).
To give you a quick backdrop to Ramadan –
- Majority of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world are fasting this month, daily from dawn to dusk; not non-stop for 30 days – the only fast that would be, is unto death..!
- Ramadan is a time for sacrifice, discipline, generosity, charity, understanding and contemplating the Quran. Needless distractions like Facebook food videos (I mean who started those, it’s just hours gone in a shimmy), Panda videos, unnecessary google searches, memes and tweets can create a major diversion, but we need to stay strong.
- There is a LOT of food. (Praise God). Coming at you from all directions, post sun-set. By now the temptation factor (in the day) isn’t that high. You’re adulting, so someone at work eating a giant burrito bowl or shawarma isn’t going to throw you off. But when you do break fast with that one civil Tunisian date – all hell(o) can break loose. (Ps- there’s no swearing in Ramadan, I should do an alternative to swearing – swear words post. Not that I swear, #just saying). There is usually at the table -something fruity, something juicy, something fatty, something salty, something healthy, something carb-y, something fried, something baked, something protein-y, something sent over from the neighbours, something left over from the day before. This honestly is most exacting part of the fast. You will have to use some amount of will power and listening to your stomach. Good luck with that.
- On a serious note, please locate some local, nearby establishments that do accept cooked food where a part of the food that is being cooked at home is either sent there, shared with the domestic help, shared with your neighbours – let’s try and have a food-waste-free Ramadan. Sharing, consideration for other, curbing wastage falls squarely into the spirit of Ramadan.
- Fasting in Ramadan is one of the 5 pillars or articles of a Muslim’s faith – the others include the belief and testimony that God is one , praying 5 times a day, performing pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in your lifetime (financial means and health permitting), giving zakat or charity. You are exempt from fasting if you are travelling, sick, pregnant.
- Ramadan ends with Eid -Al Fitr which is the “festival of breaking of the fast” celebrated at the end of 30 days of fasting. It is meant to mark your accomplishment on completing those 30 days of fasting and it is spent exchanging gifts, entertaining family and friends, dressing to the nines (sometimes tens and elevens too). Also a big part of Eid becomes reminding yourself that you can eat in the day now, Ramadan is over. Because by this point according to Dr. Maxwell Maltz it takes 21 days to form a habit. IRL we eat sheer korma on Eid and then that habit is well and truly broken.
What Ramadan is, is much more than these fun facts. What it is, an access point to reclaiming your own spirituality. The discipline, the focus on prayer, the sacrifice of food, the kind word for people around us, the increased sense of charity, is all cumulative to get us ready for the rest of the year. Fortified & whole.
The humanity that we all have underlies us, and reaching into it and making it a strong part of our nature is easier said than done. Ramadan can be considered a drill – in order to get there. But there has to be a conscientiousness that goes with our actions & Ramadan routine in order to really reap the benefits on our soul.
“Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you” ~ Ali, RA