This weekend marks the beginning of Ramadhan for Muslims all over the world. For Muslims, the next 29 days will mean refraining from consuming food and water during the day, and putting in more effort to think, say and do nicer things to the people around them as a mean to build on their spirituality and be ‘closer’ to Allah S.W.T. In a simplistic way, at least that is what this coming month will mean to me.
A friend of mine, Stu, whom I had met during my post-grad studies in Brisbane is currently attempting to observe Ramadhan in exactly the same way as all Muslims do in an effort to raise funds for the KNM Tanzania, a women’s organization in which he had spent some time in the recent years volunteering. For someone who does not claim himself a Muslim and thus is not ‘obligated’ to observe such refrains, I admire his determination to see this month through, wholeheartedly and willingly, all in the name of charity. He will documenting his experience on his blog here.
A lot of people I’ve encountered seems to view fasting as an extremely difficult and challenging thing to attempt. Especially over a month. Coming from a family that has instilled fasting as a religious practice as soon as you are able to (I started at 5 observing it for half a day at time, working up to a full day fasting by the age of 7), this annual occurrence is something that I have gotten used to. It is an expected event. One that I intermittently look forward to (for the value of detox, giving your digestive system a much needed break and hence allowing the rest of your body to adjust and eliminate the unnecessary stuff, and of course for the value of self reflection, and spirituality) but also look onto with a slight worry as I watch some of the weight that I desperately try to hold on to slip off within the one month.
For those who have never attempted to do so, I can perhaps understand how difficult it is to go without all these throughout the day, for 29 days straight. But for Stu, it is even more admirable as what he is doing is both to challenge himself and reap some human kindness out of it at the same time by encouraging people to donate towards his chosen non-profit organisation. Which reminds me of an important part of Ramadhan, and that is to remember the sacrifice of others, and to persevere towards our intended goals.