Ramadan is meant to test your patience and get you in touch with your spirituality – not to mention, empathize for those who struggle, by going through the struggle of fasting to relate.
We know that fasting is difficult – believe us, we get it. We also know that the season can be difficult for both non-Muslims and those who can’t fast and have to respect the laws that prohibit drinking water, eating food or smoking cigarettes in public before sundown. As rewarding as Ramadan is, it’s a challenge for everyone. Here are some things to keep in mind, though.
You’re doing this for a reason:
It’s a beautiful time of year, even if the weather might not translate. There were days when Ramadan fell in the middle of winter and the struggle was a little more… pleasant – but don’t forget that the struggle is supposed to be just that – a STRUGGLE. No one ever said that fasting would be easy. We know it hurts, though – just keep your hands out of the cookie jar and move on.
Yes, we’re all dreaming about it. It tends to be all anyone thinks about during Ramadan. From “What’s for futoor” to “what time is the athaan today” to “what are we eating for suhoor” and “which dessert should I make for the ghabqa”, ideas of food will ALWAYS cross your mind—don’t feel ashamed, it’s natural! You’re going for over 15 hours without ingesting anything, not even gum! This is in no way anything like when you’re stupidly starving yourself to look thin for a party.
Which brings us to the next point: it’s not easy.
So bring on the discomfort, feelings of bitterness and mood swings. Remember, though – those habits defeat the purpose of fasting. We know it’s tempting to lose your temper, especially if you tend to get “Hangry”, but just take some deep breaths and isolate yourself as much as possible until you cool down – you’re not alone.
Shouldn’t TV be more distracting?
Yeah, it really should be – that’s why it’s always so surprising when you can’t concentrate on a show and can’t help but feel hopeless. We’ve all been there – don’t feel alone. Luckily, “Ramadramas” were invented for a reason, hoping that said soap opera will make the process of waiting a little easier – especially if the plot is juicy enough. If you understand Arabic, we highly recommend you flip through the channels to find one you like. If not, then resort to Netflix and literal chill – it never fails. Talk to your friends abroad, too – it’s not like they’re doing anything interesting or important. Just remember: time will pass, and so will you.
Bonus tip: arguing with your spouse over running late or taking the wrong route to someone’s house also proves to be a great time waster. All couples have free range this month!
Post 4 PM errands and journeys can make a world of a difference
Don’t roll your eyes at the possibility of leaving your house to get things done. From picking up the samboosa from that hole in the wall your mother loves, to fetching the drinks that will be served at the table, or even getting a quick haircut at whatever salon is still open in the afternoon (keep your fingers crossed! Timings can be a little tricky) everything you do will bring you closer to chowtime. Trust us: as much as we hate to say it, lazing around won’t make it easier. You really do have to keep yourself busy.
And remember… it could be worse.
Just because we’re breaking our fasts at around 6:30-7:00pm, doesn’t mean that the rest of the world is. Islam is one of the largest globally practiced religions, and millions of Muslims fast everyday during the holy month of Ramadan – and believe us when we say, that a lot of them have it harder than we do.
Check out this list of crazy fasting hours, according to last year’s Ramadan:
The UK and Germany: 18-19 hours
North Africa (Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia): 16.5-17.5 hours
India and Pakistan: 17.5 hours
Canada: 18 hours
Russia: 20-21 hours
Iceland and Sweden: 21-22 hours
Stay strong, everybody – and remember, if you need to bury your face into a pillow in the middle of an overly air conditioned room, it’s okay. Do what you need to do to feel better. After all, no one ever said that fasting in Ramadan is easy, but we can all agree that the positive and peaceful energy of the season makes the struggle of fasting worth it.
Ramadan Kareem and mubarak 3aleikom il’shahar – from all of us here at bazaar.