R'11 Day Five: Eat, Pray, Fast!
Come to think of it, when we break our fasts at dusk (that meal is called Iftar), we do the exact same routine: we eat to break our fast, pray the dusk prayer (called Maghreb) and then the night prayer (called Isha), and some go to the mosque for additional prayers called Taraweeh. And then lo and behold, four hours after that, we're fasting again.
I'm onto something here!
Aaaaand, onto my main point. I really think you need to be disciplined in order to participate meaningfully during Ramadan. If you know anything about 'most' Muslims, you'll know that the time zone MST does not stand for 'Mountain Standard Time', but 'Muslim Standard Time'. Muslims are, in general, notoriously late to events that are planned in the community. Personally, this is a giant pet peeve of mine, especially for massed events. But I digressed! Yes, most Muslims are often late to community endeavours, but during Ramadan, you really can't be! You need to stop eating at a specific time, are encouraged to pray on time, have to break your fast on time, and prayers at the mosque DO NOT wait for you to arrive and settle in! So yes, somewhat like attending a boot camp, we are really at the mercy of time during this month, and hey, it's not such a bad thing at all!
Talking further about discipline, it is quite challenging to stick with your daily required tasks (i.e. work, errands, leisure pursuits, family responsibilities) when your physical gas tank gets emptier as the day goes on. Also, if you're at work and exposed to coworkers on a constant IV drip of coffee and food, then you have to take that all in and continue with your day. If something then happens that rubs you the wrong way, you again need to bite your tongue, shift your initial instincts, and react in a way that is more disciplined and spiritually encouraged (i.e. the Halalified response!). And if you continue to workout and be active during this time then that takes further discipline, since it really is easy to sleep more during the day until it's time to break your fast.
Because life during Ramadan goes on. I'm blessed this year to not be working for 26 out of the 30 days of the month. This does not mean I sleep until noon and mope around the house all day. Are you kidding me? I have yet to come across a day this summer when I have just sat around and chilled, there's always something that needs to be done.
And that's the way Ramadan should be!! 'Eat, pray, fast' does not mean that you stop completing the other parts of your life as well. It just means that you need to be disciplined enough to incorporate your routine into this heightened time of spirituality, and to always give remembrance where it is due...to Allah.
This Ramadan bootcamp lasts 30 days, and I pray that we all Inshallah come out of it spiritually fitter and disciplined than before. And maybe even MST will remain being 'Mountain Standard Time' even after Ramadan has passed...but I really doubt that! ;)