Real-life Muslims have considerable contradictions in practical, day-to-day life: we have a disproportionately high number of Muslims in the prison population that is worrisome; there is a visible, although tiny, number of violent extremists who have been putting Muslims in the docks through their mindless acts. The Ramadan message needs to reach all Muslims.
During the month we (Muslims) train ourselves, train ourselves to have restraint, train ourselves to have patience and steer clear from basic desires. The desire to eat, the desire to drink, the desire to argue back when under attack, the desire to indulge curbing our enthusiasm for all of these things until the set time and realizing that in actuality we are in no need of most of these desires.
I'm really starting to enjoy fasting. There, I said it. In my first blog post I wrote about how I wasn't quite sure about giving up food and drink this year; due to a combination of questioning my faith and also the impending heat wave but now we are almost a week in I find myself looking at things differently and so far there are three things I have come to realise.
I'm lucky because I'm physically able to fast (touch wood / Masha'Allah) but given the heat wave it really needs to come down to practicality and personal choice. Some relatives of mine said they wouldn't keep fast because in previous heat waves abroad they've fainted. Their attitude makes sense. Why put yourself in danger like that if you've had bad experiences?
I've always been interested in monitoring my cholesterol ever since my mother died from a heart attack aged just 45. I was 13 years old at the time. Watching your mother drop dead in front of you is something you carry with you for the rest of your life. So I knew that I had to look after my health and most importantly my heart.
Fasting has been common throughout history . It is the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. It is often used as a method of non-violent resistance to effect political change. Famous fasts include the forty hour fast by World Vision to bring awareness to poverty and hunger around the world. Mohandas K. Gandhi conducted several prolonged fasts as effective political and social protests.
The London 2012 Olympic Games, which run from 27th July to 12th August, coincide with the Muslim month of Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. One of the five pillars of Islam is to fast during this holy month. All able-bodied Muslims are expected to fast, unless they have a valid reason not to, for example those that are travelling, sick or facing heath risks.