A while ago I decided to take on the challenge of fasting along with my Muslim family, friends and colleagues during the time of Ramadan. I’ve always wanted to fast the same way they do even if it was just once in my life, let’s chalk it up to a mixture of curiosity and being keen for a challenge. So for those of you that don’t know how Muslims fast allow me to give a short explanation. They wake up before sunrise, have a meal and then go to mosque for prayers after which they're fast begins. Only after the sun has set do they break their fast with something small, generally some water and a date. They then go to mosque again for prayers, then come home to enjoy a meal with the family. This is generally done for 30 days or until they sight the moon. The tricky part though, is from sunrise to sunset they don’t eat OR drink anything, it is known as a dry fast.
I’m sure you are wondering why I did it, well here are a few reasons I can pinpoint:
- To see if I could go that long without food or water as I’m the kind of guy that really looks forward to every meal, and the snacks in between.
- To feel and understand how the body reacts to being deprived of food and water.
- To see how disciplined I can be, knowing that there’s water and food around me which I can give into at any time.
- Importantly, understanding why the Muslims fast like that in general.
- And most importantly, on a personal level, to try something different, new and way out of my comfort zone.
Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. I’ll have you all know that I completed it successfully. My start to the fast was a few minutes behind but that’s no major train smash considering it was my first time fasting, and the time frame doesn’t carry the deeper meaning for me that it does to my Muslim brethren.
Let’s move on to the juicy stuff, namely how I felt during my fast. Cold and Fatigued! That was probably the worst part of it all, you would think that hunger will be your biggest challenge, but for me it wasn’t. In all honesty I only got hungry at around one o’clock or so and it lasted for like an hour and a half, then my stomach simply digested itself and I was good to go again. I found that without the food for my body to burn to keep itself hot, the cold really managed to get under my skin. We are in the dead of winter here in my little home town and it can fall below zero degrees Celsius most mornings. So when it came to breaking fast I was happy to be eating and having a beverage, I’m not going to lie to you good people.
Did I enjoy the experience? Of course I did, and I will do it again. I now know what to expect and I will do it with open arms. This leads me to the message of this blog post; all too often we fear what’s on the other side all because we don’t know what to expect or what it might lead to, so the question is when are you going to try the unknown? Tomorrow, next week, in three months’ time or never.
That is our sticking point as humans, we fear the unknown because of what others have told us or because of our lack of knowledge about the particular subject. We forget that we are all different and what’s bad for me might not be bad for you and visa versa. Our situations and circumstances are probably totally different but that doesn’t mean you can’t take any advice, take a second to consider the expression eat the meat and throw the bones away. I want to encourage each and every one of you to go the extra mile and show your old friend the comfort zone a proper middle finger, then go ahead and do what you want. It’s the only way you are going to know what is on the other side, by giving it a try.
There is so much to be grateful for and there is so much more to be achieved, don’t allow someone else’s misfortune or negative views to bring you down or instill fear into your own ideas. You are destined for greatness and great you shall be, take care and all the best with your future ventures. They are yours to achieve, enjoy and receive.
Until next time