It’s Ramadan! For those who don’t know, Ramadan is a month of Muslim calendar in which we fast from food, drink (yes even water), and sexual relations from dawn to dusk for 30 days. The idea is that by abstaining from things that God has made lawful, and even good and beneficial, after the month is over you should have trained yourself to definitely be able to abstain from things like anger, greed, indulgence, impatience, gossipping, etc. A lot of people limit the reasoning behind Ramadan to “so we know what it feels like” or “to be grateful for what we have” but to restrict this month to being about food really doesn’t do it justice. The real reason we fast, as per the direct description in the Qur’an, is to be conscious of God. And I’ll tell you, when you’re spending your days hungry, your nights in prayer, withholding your tongue at all times, you definitely attain to a level of awareness that just isn’t there the other 11 months of the year.
The hardest part about Ramadan is probably describing it to other people. People who are flabbergasted that someone would willfully engage in thirst for 19 hours during these long summer days, seeking some kind of one-sentence explanation for why I’m skipping lunch. Well, the answer is, you make sacrifices for the things you believe in. Just like getting into medicine took sacrifice, just like living a wholesome life of integrity takes a lot of sacrifice, so too does this religion, which offers me a whole lot in exchange for my “skipping lunch.”