The Fast Is Coming Soon.
Ramadan is arriving soon. You can almost taste it in the air, hear the distant rumblings from the mosques, and feel the excitement radiating from the elders and resentment from the youngsters.
Welcome everyone to the Month of Fasting.
Every year, millions of muslims around the world become one as they totally abstain from food and water, from dawn to dusk. This special time in every Muslim’s life is called the Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days.
The fasting month is special to Muslim because it believed that it was during the month of Ramadan that Allah revealed the first verses of the Qur’an (the holy book) to the prophet.
This practice of fasting is intended to teach Muslims about self-control, patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to Allah. Many also believe that their health improve during the fasting month.
However, studies have shown that millions of Muslims are affected with migraines, dehydration, decrease in cognitive functions during this time. And despite it being the holy month, crime rates increase as the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr nears.
Personally, it was/ is a chore to complete the fast. In my culture, children ages 7 and up are encouraged to start fasting. Yes, we start them young here. The start the child off with the “easy” fast where you only fast until lunch time. Soon after, the child will be advanced to do the “complete fast”, usually lasting from 5 am to 7 pm.
It was the worst, to be a kid and having to fast. We were told that it’s not compulsory for us to fast (since we were so young) but Allah blesses those who fast with ice cream and toys. Usually after spending all morning in school, watching non-Muslims eat and drink, running around during physical education, most of us were parched and dehydrated by the time we got home.
Many of us attempted to seek relief by spending the rest of the day sleeping, to curb off the hunger and the thirst, but our mothers would nag continuously about the fast being null. It was considered cheating if you slept and did not feel the hunger.
So many children spend their days during fasting month too weak to move around, staring at the clock waiting for the sun to set.
You are also prohibited from openly eat in public during the fasting month. Although girls who are having their menses, pregnant women, and the sick are exempted from fasting, they are still not allowed to let anyone see them eating or drinking.
I’ve spent many days, forced to hide in my room, just to have a small snack, even though I was not breaking any rules since I was considered too dirty to fast. (Menstruating women are considered impure to participate in the fast)
In Malaysia, you can be fined or jailed if you are caught breaking your fast. Thankfully, in Singapore, we do not adhere to Shariah law, though you still get many dirty looks and whispers if anyone saw you enjoying a KFC meal.
This year, the fasting month starts on the 19th of July and ends on the 19th of August. I’ll be spending that time secretly sipping on cold drinks while the rest of the Muslim world try to please their God