As we reach at the halfway point of one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar, Ramadan, I would like to go over the top five things to consider when interacting with a fellow Muslim during this important month.
1. Try to understand holiday.
As you can tell from the subheadline, many people have come up to me and said that exact quote many times. I often find that it is not people feeling sympathy for me that make the best conversations, rather people who try and understand where I'm coming from. Fasting is supposed to make us think of the people who are not as fortunate as us. There are people who go to sleep with that aching, hungry feeling every day. Self-control is another aspect that is tested during this month also. All temptations should be erased during the month as this is a spiritual journey to try and make you and those around you better and stronger.
2. It's OK to eat in front of us!
I would get this all the time from my non-Muslim friends. As they would eat in front of me, some of them would think it's funny to try and seduce me with food. As a matter of fact, I used to encourage it. It's weird, but something about watching somebody enjoy something as good as food makes fasting easier. I remembered all I used to do during Ramadan was go on Instagram and watch food and dessert videos. It's like an alcoholic going to a bar only to be drinking club soda; they find enjoyment in watching other people do what they can't.
3. Once the sun sets, it's feasting time!
This is pretty self-explanatory. We fast from sunrise to sunset without food or water. This typically results in fasts lasting around 13-15 hours depending on where you are fasting.
4. What happens if you're unable to fast?
This is just by feeling. Typically, if you are a healthy individual who has gone through puberty, then you should fast. If by any chance you are pregnant, sick, or traveling, then you don't have to fast. However, you should be expected to make up any fast you miss if you aren't pregnant. Alternatively, there is a term known as "fidiya" that is a donation made in terms of feeding a person in need in the name of your fast that counts as a day of fasting. However, this shouldn't replace your fast completely, as fasting is the way to get the most reward out of the holiday.
5. We enjoy the process!Giphy
The last thing to remember is fasting isn't a punishment. There is actual science backed up by performing it, and it is actually healthy for you if you do it right. Fasting isn't an excuse not to do everyday things (like writing this article!). It's just a way for us to experience a hardship that many people have to go through and an appreciation for the things we do have in our life like family and friends, food, shelter, clothing, etc.