Across the globe, some 1.5 billion Muslims are fasting for Ramadan; the Muslim population at BC is no exception.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and is unique in uniting Muslims with it’s fast from the crack of dawn to sunset.
Every able, healthy and of-age Muslim wakes for the breakfast meal of suhoor and watches their clocks for iftar, usually at a table filled with food, crowded and gathered around with family members and friends.
During these long summer hours, parched mouths, fasting breath (those are exceptionally unique), hunger and thirst are only means to a greater purpose.
Fasting isn’t only about refraining from food and drink, those are only factors of the greater self-restraint that is taught in Ramadan.
Being able to ovecome the most basic desires for 30 days straight ensures that greater challenges faced are also met with a mind-set of overcoming. During this time period many Muslims will look for areas of growth, marking the new moon with resolutions. The ability to overcome that begins and is strengthened during this month is usually carried over to the entire year.
The experience of fasting is different and varied, there are people who begin their fast, and do not know when it will come to an end. Bellevue region’s 18 hours is nothing compared to those who have no time limit, not knowing when their next meal will be.
This is part of the purpose of fasting, it is meant to reinforce a different reality than ours, it is meant to remind us of a hunger that isn’t faced out of faith, but purely out of circumstance. With the knowledge of the poor distribution of food around the world, the slight hunger tasted through fasting is meant to remind us of the starvation faced out of human neglect.
The thirty days, regardless the length of the day are absolutely manageable, and every Muslim will testify to the sweetness of faith and food tasted with the setting of the sun.
Fasting Ramadan is the fourth of five pillars in the Muslim faith and marks the importance of building character alongside compassion.
Every individual faces new obstacles, overcomes different challenges and comes to new realizations with every Ramadan.
One of the greatest lessons I have learned with every fast is never underestimating the value of really having to face a circumstance to judge it.
Refraining from food and drink affects so many different capabilities, and temperaments, and it is worth experiencing through ordinary routines to fully understand.
The individual struggles faced and somewhat understood seem to connect us to those around, in particular to those facing dire circumstances like poverty-stricken individuals facing intense famine and starvation.
It seems to spark a responsibility we have towards each other and encourage with new awareness a more genuine and heartfelt community.