The 'Fast' and the Furious!

No doubt you've heard that 'Ramadan' is coming up, or the time of year that Muslims fast for one lunar month (varies from 28-30 days and is based on the sighting of the moon). This year, Ramadan is predicted to start on Wednesday August 11th, depending on when the new moon is sighted. But what exactly does Ramadan entail? Surprisingly, it's not solely about abstinence from food and water. Here are some basic facts!
  • Food and water is prohibited from dawn to dusk (NOT sunrise to sunset!!). Dawn is when the sun starts to rise, and dusk is when the sun has completely set. Trust me, there's a time difference between the two!
  • Serves to strengthen the spiritual connection between the individual and Allah (God)
  • Abstinence from food and water is easy! The hard part is spiritual purity! That means no anger, ill feelings, back biting, jealousy, greed, etc towards yourself, family, friends, strangers, etc.
  • Ramadan teaches self-restraint and patience
  • We fast to empathize with individuals around the world who have limited access to food and water
  • Time of repentance for sins
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women, men and women who require medication or are too physically weak to fast, and menstruating women are not allowed to fast. Fasts can be made up later or feeding one poor person with a day's worth of meals is equivalent to making up one fast.
  • Individuals must pay zakat, or give to charity, 2.5% of their income by a certain time after Ramadan.
  • Eid-il-Fitr is Islam's largest celebration day! It represents the end of Ramadan, and is accompanied by a large community prayer, visiting family and friends, abundant foods and sweets, etc.
Personally, I love this time of year. The days will definitely be longer this year, around 16-17 hours of fasting! While fasting is challenging, it's also physically and emotionally cleansing, and brings together the whole community :)

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