By July 6, 2015 0 Comments

The day I fasted in Ramadan 2015

6th of July, 2015

I broke my fast earlier today and I am so glad that I was able to go through it unhindered by my blood sugar issues.  I prepared for it by drinking a lot of water in small doses and by eating porridge before dawn.  I went by the fasting times in Lebanon and so I embarked on a lifelong experience.

My perspective on fasting in the holy month of Ramadan is that it is foremost not necessarily a test of endurance, almost all humans are able to last a full day without food or water.  Fasting is a spiritual experience and one that teaches and cleanses the mind and soul if one is prepared to learn of course.

It was an experience that I wanted to go through for many reasons and I am writing this in my blog, hoping that one day, if God grants me my wish, my children will read it and hopefully benefit from it.

Fasting is not new to me, I have ‘almost’ fasted when I was at school but I never did go through it and nor did I do it for the right reasons.  I am now many years older and hopefully ‘wiser’, I wanted to go through it and to learn from it; not as an endurance test but to try and experience what God had intended for us to learn from the process.  I have to start by saying that my fasting was in luxury;  I am presently in London on a beautiful day of 22 degrees.  I am blessed to have all the foods that can help me start and break the fast.  I am self employed and not committed to distance travel or confined to a workplace with harsh conditions.

I started my fast in the early morning, much before sunrise.  I prepared with a little snack, then took a break and followed through with a bowl of porridge.  I made sure that I drank a good amount of water and then I went to bed.

I woke up the next day and my mouth was dry, I was desperate for a drink of water but I had to somehow manage without one.  I stumbled around slightly disoriented, I am used to my morning coffee and today was an exception.  I prepared myself as any ordinary day and slowly the desperation for a drink of water subsided and I went on with my day.  I was tempted to spend the day behind my computer in my flat which is located in a cooler part of London but I decided that I should get out and run errands, see people and to spend the day just as it was any other day.  I was worried at first that if I spoke with people I would become thirstier and quicker but it was something that I had to live with and part and parcel of the whole experience.

By midday I was in the heart of London, walking around in the sun and chatting with people here and there.  It was quite amusing in a way – no one suspected that I was fasting.  I am not sure if it was me being more sensitive but I felt that people wanted to engage in more conversation today of all days and I obliged.  I walked by restaurants and I saw people eating all types of foods.  It did not affect me to see people eat so I am not sure what the big fuss is all about when they say that you should not eat in front of someone who is fasting.  On the contrary it made me feel more satisfied within myself for committing myself to something very special.  Fasting opened me up to the world and I felt dignified and connected… it was my way of reaching out to others – people who I may have never met and may never meet but today I felt that we were connected.  I was never aware of this beautiful aspect of fasting, the sense of honour tickles the soul…

By the afternoon, I started to feel my blood sugar start to raise a small alarm and I spoke to my body mentally and I told myself that today is an exception.  I did not want to stop, I had a few more hours to go before it ended and I had to find a way to make peace with my body and so I prayed…

Being dyslexic means that my calculations about the time to breaking the fast was wrong.  To my horror I discovered that I was to break the fast at 6pm UK time and not at 4pm UK time.  This means that the post to the finish line was now an additional two hours away… I felt silly but I am what I am and I had to find a way to calm down because I was starting to feel the hunger and the thirst and I was tired.  I decided to call my dear friend Amal and after a brief chat, I told her that I was fasting and that the last two hours are so hard.  She was very touched and prayed for my well being and wished me all the best.  Amal’s comforting voice and genuine wishes and prayers gave me a boost to go through the final hours and I started making plans to go home.   My panic was now under control but with an hour left, I was feeling every minute and every second… I was thirsty and hungry.

At home, I prepared a soup and a salad.  Never have I imagined that a simple vegetable soup would smell so good.  I have eaten the same soup many times in my lifetime but never has the aroma made me feel so desperate for a bowl.  This was the test, I thought… it is not about endurance but to appreciate what you have and to feel with others who can only dream of what you enjoy as a token.
I have never been so humbled in my life and the experience later moved me to tears.   God has given me so much to enjoy, so much security, love and food… I will from today, learn to value everything that I have and I thank God for everything.   The majority of people on this planet do not choose to fast, they live with this reality of suffering and despair.  Today I somehow connected with them and I felt a small taste of what they go through every single day of their lives. Man is born selfish, ignorant and greedy and God knew that fasting in its true and purest form is essential for our growth.

Ramadan is an experience that people of all religions should go through.  I only wish that I was not diabetic, I would have loved to go through the whole month process.  The experience from that would have been invaluable.   It is a pity that some people choose to cheat in Ramadan by sleeping all day and waking up to break their fast… there are so many other ways, I will not bother to list them.   I can only think of my days in Doha Qatar, when all the labourers from Pakistan would be hauling building materials, working hard under the gruelling sun in Ramadan, while fasting and still they always managed a genuine and warm smile.   Fasting is an honour and sweet is the suffering in the name of God and humanity.

Thank you to all my dear friends, especially my Muslim friends who showed me incredible support and appreciation.  I am honoured to be at one with all of you, even if it was for a single day, I will never forget today’s blessing.

Together we are light…

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