Let’s set the record straight: Ramadan is not only about food, or the lack thereof. There’s a lot of focus placed on how going without food is torturous, how much the body changes after hours of not drinking, and anticipating that feast at Pizza Hut at sundown. But in all honestly, if all you learn about the ‘Muslim culture’ after a day of fasting is that you get hungry for half a day and end up with really chapped lips, then you haven’t really learnt much about Ramadan.
1. Giving Up The Gun
It’s not just food and water Muslims refrain from. Fasting is about abstinence, and this applies to various aspects apart from just food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Like cussing, gossiping, cigarettes, sex during the day, or fighting — it’s all about self-restraint.
2. A Clean Slate
Upon stating that I was fasting, someone once said to me, “I don’t agree with that, that’s just not right of your religion to do that.” Well, la-di-da, here’s some knowledge:
While fasting is a tenet of Islam, there is so much more to why we fast. The month of Ramadan signifies a clean slate and the opportunity to cleanse the spirit. It’s a time for prayer, reflection, and remembering others who are in poverty. As Ramadan is the holiest month on the Islamic calendar, Muslims also use the month to become a better person, which is why charity and goodwill is a huge part of Ramadan.
3. “Oh but okay what, after this you can feast until morning.”
Well yes, technically, we can spend the hours between sundown and sunrise the next day gorging on food, but medical and health consequences aside, like I said, Ramadan is not just about food.
The meal we are entitled to at sundown is not, and should not, be the main motivator of the day — which is often the message in videos where non-Muslims fast. Gurl, that cheesy crust pizza ain’t supposed to be what pulls you through your day of fasting. In most countries, though not mandatory, the fast is broken with dates, water, a light soup with bread, and small side dishes. Keepin’ it simple.
4. Fasting month is detrimental to health
Nah, in fact, there are a lot of benefits. From helping you get over unhealthy snacking habits, to improving your blood fat levels, there’re a lot of benefits to reap during the fasting month. Plus, you don’t have to fast if you have any health issues that could be made worse, i.e., pregnant women, the sickly or elderly, and young children.
5. “Can we eat in front of you?”
Yes, of course you can. In fact, I’d prefer if you went about your day normally and not single me out for fasting. Let’s just see it as a normal workday, except I won’t be joining you for lunch today. And the next 30 days.
Unless you’re gonna be eating some mega aromatic fish head curry, of course. In which case: dude c’mon man, get out of here.