The Muslim holy month of Ramadan will begin this week. Fasting begins at sunrise and ends at sunset. Before sunrise and after sunset we eat and drink to our fill, but during the day we abstain from food, beverages (including water), smoking, and any other vices. However it is not meant to be an extreme hardship but a reminder to appreciate what we have. People who are hungry and living in poverty, who are ill, who have diabetes or who are under the age of 13 are not encouraged to fast if it will result in difficulty for them. If you are sick, you can tailor your fasting to your needs. For example, I can’t abstain from water due to a medical condition. If I don’t drink water I will get very sick, so I drink water all day but I still abstain from food. Again it is not meant to be an extreme hardship or make us sick, it is only meant to encourage us to draw nearer to our spiritual path and remind us of how fortunate we are.
Fasting is good for us because it rids the body of toxins and build-up. When breaking your fast it’s important to eat good healthy food while you have the window to do so. Don’t load up on junk, you will regret it the next day! Fasting also increases our propensity for spiritual connections and interpersonal connections. Our heart is normally busy pumping blood to our digestive organs when we are eating during the day. Fasting enables increased blood flow to the brain, making us more thoughtful and more connected to our Creator. More blood stays in our upper body including the area of our heart, making us more loving and more connected to our fellow human beings all over the world.
Have you ever been so hungry that you become extremely irritable or “hangry”? Imagine fasting for a month, while still going about your daily life full of it’s normal stressors. In a predominately Muslim country, the entire population is fasting with you and society restructures around that. Business hours change and everything is more accommodating. Fasting in a non-Muslim country, this is not the case, and we still have to go about business as usual. It’s imperative to remember your reasons for fasting and to remind calm, cool, collected and kind
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