Sunday, 5 August 2012

Ramadan: Stranded!

July, 2012: Muslims turn out in their thousands for
the 'Tharawih prayer' at the 'Prophet's Mosque' in
Medina, Saudi Arabia.
It is with great sadness that I inform you today that I remain stranded on a measly six days of completed fasting this Ramadan.

"But Rusty, what happened? The other day you sounded so motivated to press on..."

Okay, maybe I jumped the gun a bit with the 'great sadness' stuff. Truth is, I haven't just been laying on my arse, eating and drinking, and completely disregarding fasting.

Yesterday, although I was extremely determined to add another day to my 'belt' - for want of a better term - my body simply had other ideas.

I didn't want to give up so easily, though. At the risk of mistaking myself as some heroic soldier of war, for several hours I pushed on through severe headaches, a sore throat, and ever-increasing dehydration.

By the time 3pm came around - with more than five hours still remaining - it was all just too much. I was sweating and desperately needed some water. So I broke my fast.

So, to those who are not-so-informed about Islam (that includes me!), you're probably wondering; did I commit a sin by not completing the fast?

The simple answer is: No!

Thankfully, these days when I 'fail' to fast still gives me an opportunity to learn certain aspects of this religion, and to pass these answers on to others who also do not know.

As I probably assumed once upon a time, Islam does not stipulate that you must simply fast regardless of your health status; and that those who don't fast are bad people. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

As outlined in the Quran:

"...and whoever is ill or journeying, for him is the like number of other days. Allah desires for you ease and does not desire for you hardship; so you should complete the number and magnify Allah for His having guided you, that perhaps you may give thanks." [Noble Quran 2:185]

Reverting to Layman's terms, this means that anyone who is sick or ill - in any way - is not expected to fast. However, once that person's health has improved, they are expected to make up for the 'lost' days by fasting following the conclusion of Ramadan. The same rule applies for anyone who is travelling somewhere during this month.

So, what does that mean for me? It means that I should not have even been attempting to fast yesterday if I was feeling unwell! (For the record, I am still unwell, so am not fasting today, either.)

Though, at least the excuse of being sick holds up a bit better than the 'lazy' excuse .. so I don't feel so down about it.

I am still determined to reach my goal of 14 days of fasting, even if that means I have to complete some of those days after Ramadan has finished.

Anyway, hope you are well, wherever in the world you are reading this from :)


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