Skip to comments.5 reasons Why I, a Non-Muslim, Decided to Fast This Ramadan
Posted on 06/07/2017 10:39:19 PM PDT by nickcarraway
This is my 10th year living in Dubai and my 9th Ramadan. I will admit in the beginning I didnt really understand it. To me, it was simply a month of not being allowed to eat or drink in daylight hours, or dance at night. And ashamedly, I saw it as a month of disruption to normal day-to-day living.
It was only in 2012 when I began to work with and befriend a number of Muslim colleagues, I started to gain a deeper understanding of the holy month. Now I appreciate it is a deeply spiritual time of piety, reflection, purity of heart, connection with self, friends, family and God, self-control, compassion and empathy for those less fortunate. With charity and acts of kindness significantly encouraged during this time.
With the core values and virtues of Ramadan resonating so clearly with me, I began my journey to committing to fasting with my Muslim brothers and sisters in this special month.
Due to a health condition, my doctor strongly advised I do a food-only fast, with small amounts of water during the day. So while I am not be able to fully appreciate the fasting journey, I am doing my best within the limitations of my body.
30 days is a long time particularly for someone who has never fasted before. But I knew if I was clear on my WHY?, and that WHY? was meaningful and purposeful, I would stay committed to the end. Here are the reasons why I decided to fast this Ramadan:
1) To say thank you to the UAE
The UAE has been my home for the last 10 years. It welcomed me with open arms and has treated me, a foreigner and non-Muslim, with nothing but respect and understanding. Even hanging up Christmas decorations around the shopping malls to make its Christian and Catholic residents feel more at home. It has also provided me with endless opportunities, friends, love, financial security and a constant roof over my head during this time. But even though it has bent over backwards to accommodate me, I have not necessarily gone to any great lengths to say thank you. So, as my way of expressing my gratitude to the UAE for allowing me to live here, happily and freely, for all these years, I will be honoring the holy month of Ramadan and fasting.
In light of the recent events in Manchester, fasting with my Muslim brothers and sisters, and promoting it on the internet, is my attempt to inspire love not hate. To say in times like these we need to show solidarity and unity with our fellow men and women. To be respectful of each others differences and to live in harmony - as we have been able to achieve so well in Dubai. Dont let those who want to use fear to segregate and divide us win. We are all human beings after all.
My dream is to live in a world where we can all be different in religion, race, gender, body size, abilities etc. and be respectful of those differences, and each other. And if my fasting can inspire just one person to educate themselves more on different religions and to be respectful of them then this post will have been worthwhile.
For the last two years, work has been a significant focus in my life. Asking myself everyday How can I add even more value to the people of this world through my coaching and my writing? Ive realized in doing this I have spent much time connecting with others, but not much time connecting with myself. And while I do not practice any religion, I do believe we are all connected in some way. By something greater than ourselves. Whether you want to call it energy, or the universe, or our creator. And connecting with this too is also something I have neglected.
(Strangely, even though this is only my third day of fasting, the feeling of connection is strong. Knowing that as I am breaking my fast, there are millions of people out there breaking theirs. Having also been on their own personal spiritual journey throughout the day. This has given me a sense of belonging. Belonging to something greater than myself. And this is something I have missed dearly.)
4) Spiritual growth
For those of you who know me, either in person, through LinkedIn or my writing, Im fairly pragmatic and practical in my approach. I am not what could be described as fluffy in my communication or my mindset. So the word spiritual has not always been clearly defined for me.
Over the last three days, I have begun to get clarity on my own definition. Spirituality meaning, to me, showing sincere understanding, compassion, empathy and love towards oneself and others. Gaining clarity on your values and what is really most important to you in life. An appreciation and gratitude for everything you have been gifted with in this world. A respect for everyone and everything on this planet. Connecting to something greater than you or I. And a focus on How can I contribute to this world to make it a better place? rather than me.
In the spirit of Ramadan, I will be giving back this month. All the money I usually spend on daily coffees, lunches, snacks and breakfasts will be saved and donated to a family in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh through the Maria Cristina Foundation. I hope this inspires others to do a good deed today. Ramadan Mubarak everyone!
Reason 1 - You're a moron
Reason 2 - You're a moron
Reason 3 - You're a moron
Reason 4 - You're a moron
Reason 5 - Did I mention you're a moron?
This reminds me to stock up on more bacon.
[ 4) Spiritual growth ]
Great! The god of this world thanks you.
Oh, BTW. Satan is allah. Surprise!
“It was only in 2012 when I began to work with and befriend a number of Muslim colleagues, I started to gain a deeper understanding of the holy month. Now I appreciate it is a deeply spiritual time of piety, reflection, purity of heart, connection with self, friends, family and God, self-control, compassion and empathy for those less fortunate.”
Just think at this rate, in a few more years you’ll be blowing buildings and mowing down children.
It’s 98F in Dubai right now.
“Small amounts of water” won’t prevent dehydration.
Large amounts of Yuengling will.
Fasting, like prayer or meditation, is an old spiritual practice, used in many religions.
In fact, the muslim fast during ramadan was likely adopted from Christian Lenten fasting. The five daily prayers in islam were also seemingly modeled on the Christian practice of the day (itself modeled on earlier Jewish practice). The Catholic Liturgy of the Hours (or Divine Office) was something like this:
Matins (during the night, ~midnight); also called Vigils or Nocturns
Lauds or Dawn Prayer (at Dawn, or 3 a.m.)
Prime or Early Morning Prayer (First Hour = ~6 a.m.)
Terce or Mid-Morning Prayer (Third Hour = ~9 a.m.)
Sext or Midday Prayer (Sixth Hour = ~12 noon)
None or Mid-Afternoon Prayer (Ninth Hour = ~3 p.m.)
Vespers or Evening Prayer (”at the lighting of the lamps”, ~6 p.m.)
Compline or Night Prayer (before retiring, ~9 p.m.)
Nowadays, they still do a shorter version in monasteries.
Islam also adopted Halal dietary practices from Jewish Kosher practices (largely identical), as well as having a direction of prayer (Jews toward Jerusalem, Muslims toward Mecca).
The Hajj pilgrimage replaced the existing pagan pilgrimages to Mecca, a mainstay of the local economy in Mohammad’s hometown of Mecca.
Out of the five pillars of Islam, only the Shahada (swearing “There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is his prophet”) was not already a major practice of the existing local religions - rather it was like the tribal custom of swearing allegiance to a political/military leader.
Does this mean he’s also going to kill a bunch of non-mohammedans in a shopping mall?
6) I’m a “life coach” who lives in Dubai, and I want to make my silly life even more meaningless.
I had a chance to observe up-close the effects of Ramadan on people three years ago. In the midst of July heat...in a classroom without AC, we had a couple of guys doing the fasting business. This was a 9AM to 1PM class. By 11AM, these guys were running out of patience, showing signs of dehydration, and really frustrated because their last smoke was at 4:30AM.
I asked one day to a guy who’d spent most of his life in a Middle-Eastern country....how this would work in the old country. He said that most all physical work jobs just plain stopped in the Ramadan period. Construction projects, garbage pick-up, shelf-stocking, etc....were on a very short schedule...from maybe 5AM to 9AM, then everyone just went home and tried to rest to make it till sun-down.
I asked...since he’d now arrived in a western country and they kinda expected you to work and do your required physical labor....how he’d be able to do it, and he had doubts. For 30 days...no water from sun-up to sun-down? The further north you go in Europe....the more hours you have to mess with. It’d be great in December to have Ramadan because you’d only be talking about 7 hours of sunshine.
In the end, I think all of these folks will have kidney and liver issues by their late 30’s, and face a shorten life because of the continued dehydration practices. The more physical their job....the more likely of the short life.
There are some people that could be beaten to death with a True Fact spiked clue bat and they’d die just as stupid as before the beating started.
>> I am not what could be described as fluffy in my communication or my mindset.
Ya’ don’t say...
It sure is.
You hit the nail on the head — 5 times!
Values of Ramadan???
Ask anyone in Manchester
They don’t fast. They delay their meals until the daylight is gone.
Typical liberal, fàsts for three days and thinks they know enough about Islam to educate people about it.
Zeta will learn that the farmer is nice to the turkeys up until thanksgiving.
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