A lot of my friends are Muslim. For them
currently it is the middle of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. To increase
our intercultural understanding my Rotary club decided to join our friends
on a day of fasting. It began 4am in the morning with a joint breakfast
at Serangoon Road. For the rest of the day we didn't eat or drink anything.
Our friends explained, that the rule is "nothing should enter though
the natural openings of the body" (of course that doesn't cover breathing).
So smoking and sex are out too. At 6:51pm, a time determined by the clerics,
we then did break fast in the traditional way of eating dates and drinking
While not eating was easy to cope with,
not being able to drink even water was quite a challenge for me. With this
first-hand experience I now can understand how time slows down during Ramadan.
There are some very interesting facts around
the Ramadan rule: If you are unfit for fasting, like being sick, on medication,
pregnant or travelling, you have to make-up your fasting. One way is, that
you have to feed a hungry for every day you didn't fast. During Ramadan,
our friends shared further, you use the slower pace of life to reconsider
your position on this world and your spiritual development. During Ramadan
you are gentle to all people, you don't fight, you are 100% honest and
you try to heal old wounds.
Interestingly all religions know times
like this. In the Christian tradition you are supposed to fast the 40 days
before Easter to commemorate Jesus time spent lonely in the dessert (I
used to drink no alcohol and eat only vegetarian during that 40 days).
In Buddhism fasting and ascetics life style are known on a more individual
basis. So it seems only Islam has kept this tradition on a whole population
basis. So Islam keeps an procedure alive, that would be good for all mankind
: slowing down and reconsider.
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