I fast. Finally. I’ve been doing it for seven day straight. This is my first Ramadan fasting. But I’m not a Muslim and don’t believe in it. So what does this mean?
At first, I decided to do this only because it was one of the things I wanted to do in life, an item on my bucket list, nothing more. I was introduced to Ramadan in 2005 when I lived in Sarajevo. I landed in the country on the day of the Eid ul-Fitr, the festival celebrating the end of Ramadan. This country, the people and Muslim events forever has left a strong impression.
I’ve always wanted to live in a Muslim country in the Middle East, and once came so close to achieve it and while there I would fast. Unless you are a Muslim or live in a Muslim country, Ramadan isn’t something on the back of your mind. I kept forgetting about it. The Muslims around me either didn’t observe this tradition or if they did, they would not shout from the rooftop. This year, I met a Muslim colleague from Malaysia. She fasts regularly. We talked about it and here I am.
I’m a loose faster and don’t observe anything else other than not eating anything from 4.00 to 20.00. Any Muslim will tell me that my fasting is invalid and means nothing since I’m doing it for myself. They are right. My fast is absolutely invalid under Islamic rules which are very strict. To see why, you have to understand the five pillars of Islam.
For one to be valid, you must also do the one(s) precede it. For example, it doesn’t mean anything if you pray five times a day and don’t believe in Muhamad or fast and don’t do the first two. This is my 1st violation according to the Islamic pillars.
The 2nd violation is that I drank water, not only water but together with vitamin tablets and protein power to maintain energy throughout the day. In addition, I popped chewing-gums every couple of hours to keep my breath from descending into a bacteria pool because as I need to talk to people.
I don’t follow the strict fasting hours, my 3rd violation, which change every day (319, 342, 354… to 830, 812…). To simplify, I rounded up to 4 in the morning until 8 in the evening. I can’t help it if my first fasting coincides with the summer when the day is much longer. My last one is I do the things that even Muslims violate.
Fasting isn’t as bad as I thought before trying, however I don’t think it is a healthy habit if one does it for a long time. The first day of course was the worst. My head hurt so much due to the lack of morning breakfast. I felt hungry every hour. It was unbearable already at only 10 in the morning.
Food was the only thing I thought about before, during and after lunch hour. I walked past someone’s room at work and immediately noticed a bowl of chocolate. In the evening, I arrived at a Vietnamese restaurant 45 minutes before 8 so I took a tram going away and then back on the hour and shoved an entire plate of grill-duck noodle and tempted to ask the waiter to bring me some more. I went home and stuffed a giant bowl of salad after that. I boiled two eggs and made a big plate of spaghetti for the breakfast the day after which I ended up didn’t eat because I woke up later than 4. This brings another serious issue: possible weight-gain and packing around my waist-line. By eating less regularly, your hungry body thinks that it should store the food instead of burning it. I can feel the effect almost immediately. Though I felt very hungry, I also felt stuffed.
Nonetheless, fasting brings many benefits.
I am throwing in the white flag next week and reconsidering whether I should continue until the end of the month.