Is fasting during Ramadan hard?
"I bet you're starving!"
"If you could, would you skip fasting?"
"I can't even go 2 hours without eating."
"Why would you want to feel how the poor feels like?"
"Why do you fast?"
"Do you mind me eating in front of you?"
Those are just some of the remarks I get every Ramadan from non-Muslims. The 2 minute video I attached is a concise yet brilliant explanation on the reasons behind why Muslims fast during Ramadan. For more short, educational clips on Islamic practices, check out: Raindrop Academy.
Every Muslim's Ramadan experience is different. Some probably dread it whereas some may look forward to it; it all depends on the spiritual connection they've with God because fasting is essentially an act of worship. A person's spiritual journey is shaped by the kind of lifestyle they have which is why every Muslim makes use of the Holy Month differently.
I've been observing Ramadan since I was 8 years old and strangely enough, I don't have a problem with hunger nor thirst while fasting. Looking at people eat while fasting doesn't offend nor tempt me. The only issue my body faces is fatigue. Due to a change in my schedule during the span of Ramadan, I don't get good quality sleep and keeping my eyes open during work hours are one of the biggest challenges I've during the day.
Fasting in Malaysia is easy peasy because it's a Muslim country. Muslims get to get off work early so that we can reach home in time to break our fast, there are mosques nearby so that we can perform our congregational prayers and fasting is only for 13 hours. While I was studying in the UK, I had to fast 19-20 hours! Although I don't miss that experience it taught me a lot about myself.
What I love about Ramadan is finding out my strengths and weaknesses. Muslims believe that during this month, the devils are locked up in hell and the doors of heaven are opened therefore if a Muslim commits a sin, it's due to their own will and their actions cannot be blamed on any other influence but their own.
I've increased awareness of my words and actions while fasting. Before speaking I often find myself asking if what I'm about to say is necessary. Is it beneficial? Is it nice? Is it hurtful? This consciousness also extends to my actions. Am I spending money responsibly? Am I charitable enough? Am I spending my time wisely?
The Holy Month reminds me that worship isn't restricted to just praying. My faith teaches me that when we inject spirituality in all aspects of our life, we begin to lead a more meaningful and balanced life. It often baffles people why one would do something as arduous as fasting for a whole month but truth is, if you don't have faith, it's difficult to understand.
When the act of fasting is reduced to simply not eating and drinking during the day, then I understand why people are baffled or even disturbed, when someone chooses to voluntarily fast for a month. It's not the easiest task to do but it is rewarding. Can I just say—refraining from food and water is probably the easiest part of fasting.
Fasting, when done with love and a deeper spiritual understanding, can be a very uplifting experience.