|The Ramadan crescent.|
As you're probably aware, I haven't been keeping you all up to date with my Ramadan fasting progress, so here you are:
Sadly, since my 'day three' entry, I have been unable (or, at times, unwilling) to fast. This can be put down to a number of reasons, with the main barrier being the fact I was in Sarajevo, and showing a few of my Melburnian friends around the place, that I just didn't seem to have the time, nor the ability.
Whether those are really good-enough reasons, I'm not entirely convinced.
However, there was one positive outcome from my week in Sarajevo - I managed to avoid alcohol completely! (As I told you previously, consuming alcohol anytime during Ramadan is completely prohibited in Islam; it doesn't matter if it's between the sunset and sunrise - it's simply not allowed.)
To be truthful, I expected to cop a bit of stick from the Aussie boys when I gave them my reasons for not sharing a beer with them, but, to my surprise, they were very understanding and respectful. Cheers, lads.
Anyway, because I've now gone six or seven days without fasting, I must admit I've been feeling a bit unmotivated because of my recent inaction.
So, today, in just over one hour - I'm planning on getting back in the thick of things and progressing to my fourth day of fasting! In some weird, strange way, I am rather excited about it.
Although my reasons for fasting this Ramadan month somewhat deviates from the Muslims who are participating in it -- I am doing it for education and understanding more-so than to re-focus my commitment on God or for purifying my soul -- I must say that I have been experiencing emotions I did not expect.
For example, I feel a greater sense of self-worth, as well as, how can I say it, a bit 'cleaner', thanks to the abstinence from such things as alcohol. In other words, my spirit is higher and my body feels better!
So, right there, I am noticing not just physical advantages, but psychological advantages, also.
Well, my eyes are becoming weary as I type this, which is usually a sign it might be time to quickly brush the teeth and nod off to sleep. Speak to you guys in 24 hours.
PS. Here's an interesting Ramadan fact:
As I explained to you guys in an entry a week or so back, Muslims believe that all 'good' things a person does during the month of Ramadan is enormously multiplied than during other months of the year (the same goes for 'bad' things a person may do .. which is why the rule of no alcohol is pretty strict this time of year). One 'positive' action that is particularly viewed upon favourably is when a Muslim prepares a meal, or drink, for another Muslim whom is fasting. Moreover, it is said that they who prepare and provide that meal, will receive the same reward(s) from God, as if it was they themselves who were fasting that day.
Although this caused some initial confusion for me -- I thought that, in theory, one might simply say, "Really don't think I can be bothered today. Gonna drink some coffee and eat pizza this afternoon, then I'll prepare a meal for the family tonight. Too easy!" -- I soon discovered that this only applies to the Muslim who has a legitimate excuse for not fasting that day; for example, a girl going through menstruation; or any person who is feeling unwell.
Simply put, it encourages positive social behaviour and interaction with those around you.
Nice one, I think!