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Thu Jul 19, 2012, 05:55 AM

 

Ramadan Begins Tonight/Tomorrow. I will be fasting.

No, I am not Moslem. This will be my fourth year. No one is making me do it, and if I "cheat", no one will care except me.

I find it ... empowering.

You see, Ramadan is a month long exercise in having an "Attitude of Gratitude."

The concept is simple: get up before the sun rises, and eat a healthy breakfast. Skip lunch. Eat a late supper.

From sunrise to sunset = No Food. No Water. No Drink.

It is the "in between" that changes everything.

You see, you aren't supposed to "ignore" being hungry, or thirsty.

= When you are hungry, you are supposed to remember there are people who do not have a choice about breaking their fast at the end of the day, and they will go to bed hungry.

= When you are thirsty, you are supposed to remember there are people who do not have clean water, and they will go to bed thirsty.

= When you break your fast at the close of the day with family and friends, you are supposed to remember there are people who do not have family and friends.

For one solid month, you are supposed to pay attention to how good you've got it, and remember those who don't. It is a visceral thing instead of a purely intellectual exercise, and for me, it is powerful.

Charitable giving from Moslems goes up substantially during Ramadan, and I *totally* understand why. There is something about "being hungry" that makes me very aware of the restaurants and grocery stores that are on practically every corner of my area. Food is everywhere, for those who can afford it. And clean water comes out of the tap without any effort on my part.

When you are hungry, you notice. When you are thirsty, you see. It changes things, at least it does for me.

The first year I fasted was the most challenging; there was one Sunday in particular where I was outside in the hot sun, and man! It was freaking AWFUL! I was so thirsty!

And I got it. My lunch money was donated to the Somalia Water Efforts.

The second year hit me the hardest, though. I had taken my twins (age 3 at the time) to the park, and we were having a small heat wave. Being the good mom, I was making sure they stayed hydrated (children, pregnant women, travelers, and anyone whose health would be compromised are NOT supposed to fast), while I was ready to about fall over every time I left the shaded areas. I was so thirsty...

And that was when it hit me: How would I feel if I couldn't give *my children* clean water??? If MY CHILDREN were THIS THIRSTY - and there was NOTHING I could do about it?

I got it again. Still think about it regularly two years later. Go Somalia Water Effort!!!

This year is going to be tough, not because of the "skipping lunch" part (altho psychologically, I swear that first week is quite challenging starting at 10:00 a.m.!), but because "sunrise" means 4:10 a.m. where I am at, while "sunset" is around 9:00 p.m. Mainly I don't want to get out of bed that early , but I've learned the importance of "breakfast" on those occasions when I hit the snooze alarm instead.

Its going to be some long days, but at the end, I will have Food, Water, and Fellowship.

I am very lucky. I am grateful. And I will remember those who don't.

I will practice my "Attitude of Gratitude" because I have much to be grateful FOR.

Happy Ramadan Everyone!


P.S. You are also supposed to pick "one bad habit" to get rid of, and "one good one" to take on. Mine are going to be "not sniping at family and friends" and "reading scripture daily"; also the above post is my understanding as shared by friends of the faith mentioned, and is not intended to be offensive to anyone.

36 replies, 6318 views

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply Ramadan Begins Tonight/Tomorrow. I will be fasting. (Original post)
IdaBriggs Jul 2012 OP
Post removed Jul 2012 #1
IdaBriggs Jul 2012 #2
Yeah Its Spin Jul 2012 #4
eShirl Jul 2012 #7
Post removed Jul 2012 #9
IdaBriggs Jul 2012 #11
Motown_Johnny Jul 2012 #12
Capt. Obvious Jul 2012 #16
Motown_Johnny Jul 2012 #17
hedda_foil Jul 2012 #19
IdaBriggs Jul 2012 #31
bigdarryl Jul 2012 #3
DonCoquixote Jul 2012 #5
annabanana Jul 2012 #6
Spitfire of ATJ Jul 2012 #18
eShirl Jul 2012 #8
IdaBriggs Jul 2012 #10
HappyMe Jul 2012 #20
Capt. Obvious Jul 2012 #13
Motown_Johnny Jul 2012 #14
MissHoneychurch Jul 2012 #15
Inkfreak Jul 2012 #21
cali Jul 2012 #22
BlueMTexpat Jul 2012 #23
lillypaddle Jul 2012 #24
Diclotican Jul 2012 #25
Javaman Jul 2012 #26
ProdigalJunkMail Jul 2012 #29
Javaman Jul 2012 #30
riverwalker Jul 2012 #27
Xyzse Jul 2012 #28
IdaBriggs Jul 2012 #32
riderinthestorm Jul 2012 #33
IdaBriggs Jul 2012 #34
riderinthestorm Jul 2012 #36
B Calm Jul 2012 #35

Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)


Response to Post removed (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:13 AM

2. I am sorry, but could you explain the puking icon?

 

I really don't understand your post. I think you are mocking me, but it isn't really clear as to why or for what reason...?

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #2)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:18 AM

4. Sorry

 

nothing against you, was just reading some anti islam posts here earlier, didn't see that you didn't believe.

BTW i know I comes before E after C

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Response to Yeah Its Spin (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:33 AM

7. well that explains it!

or not

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Response to eShirl (Reply #7)


Response to Post removed (Reply #9)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:50 AM

11. About what? I am *not* trying to be offensive.

 

I also don't want to proclaim myself an expert on Islam, altho I believe myself to be better informed than many because I am lucky enough to have friends who follow the faith who are open to answering my questions.

I am also talking about *my* experiences, so what can I be "bullshitting" about?

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #11)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:54 AM

12. linked to wrong person,

"Yeah its spin" needed to delete, not you.. sorry about that. It is early.

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Response to Motown_Johnny (Reply #12)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 07:01 AM

16. I think

you responded to the wrong person?

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Response to Capt. Obvious (Reply #16)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 07:05 AM

17. Yes I did, will edit. Thank You Captain Obvious!

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Response to Post removed (Reply #9)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 07:08 AM

19. Ida Briggs is a long time DUer. She neither spins nor bulls__ts

EVER!!!!

You. Are. Way. Out. Of. Line.

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Response to hedda_foil (Reply #19)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 10:09 PM

31. Thank you - Miss You!

 

I really appreciated the fierce defense.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:15 AM

3. Glad I'm retired from my job NJ Department Of Corrections this is a pain in the ass

During Ramadan in the prison system we have to wakeup Muslim inmates 3:00AM in the morning and feed them.On my unit I had to wake up 60 inmates

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:23 AM

5. Tampa has a Persian restaurant

that has a big evening buffet, where you see cross sections of the Arab/Muslim community come in. It is what made me realize that Muslims are not monolithic, especially as that one place attracted people throughout the city. You had some come in Armani blazers, some in T shirts.

Of course, it being in the University area, it also attracted a lot of starving college students that were already used to eating Gyros, Kababs and Falafel.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:29 AM

6. I have occasionally considered trying this.

But I'm not sure I have the guts.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:37 AM

8. Doesn't the no-water thing ever cause medical problems?

Like during a heat wave, or in people who have or are susceptible to UTIs?

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Response to eShirl (Reply #8)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:47 AM

10. The people who started it lived in a desert.

 



I haven't had any problems other than some fairly mild "discomfort" but I know you aren't supposed to be an idiot about it; if you have health issues, take care of yourself appropriately. (I asked the same question, by the way! It just sounded so ... counter-intuitive to the "drink 8 glasses of water daily" that is everywhere.)

The water for me is the hardest, tho. Within a day or two my body seems to adjust to "not during daylight" for the eating and drinking; it isn't that I'm NOT drinking, it is just Not Drinking During the Day. It is when I am "outside" in the sun chasing children I start to wonder!

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #10)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 07:57 AM

20. Maybe if you are outside with your kids,

you could fudge a little. It won't do your kids any good if you pass out.

I really admire what you are doing, and found your op to be very inspirational. Learning about other faiths is always a good thing.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:55 AM

13. That is exactly right

And no matter how poor, hungry and thirsty one may be there are others worse off than you.

A rec for your thread.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:56 AM

14. You are a better person than I.

The best I can bring myself to do is to give up red meat for Lent, even though I am agnostic.

Doing without any food or drink from sunup to sundown for a month is beyond me.


Good luck to you

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 07:00 AM

15. Good for you

I admire your and the Muslim's strength to fast for a month.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 07:59 AM

21. Pretty cool

I had a buddy in school, from Gaza I believe, who would fast also. It was great cause he would gimme his lunch card. 2x the school lunch!! Oh happy days

He moved back just before high school started. I often wonder how he & his family are doing. He was a good dude. Real good.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 08:03 AM

22. I often fast for that reason

several times a year- although I do drink water. Practicing gratitude is a fundamental part of my life. It has to be.

I don't particularly need to borrow any religion's rites to practice gratitude. I try and do it daily.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 08:09 AM

23. What a lovely post about the essence and meaning of the Ramadan fast!

I have heard it referred to as the "Muslim Lent." In French, the word "carÍme" (fast) is often used to describe both with "le CarÍme" specifically meaning the Christian Lent.

But Lent - as it is practiced today, at least - is nowhere near as strict as the Ramadan is and the small sacrifices seem to be more for personal spiritual gain than for understanding one's place and effect within society in general.

By the way, if you do "cheat," I understand from Muslim friends that you can choose other days to "give back" whether they actually occur during the Ramadan period or not.

Good on you!

****
I myself am agnostic. But I respect all those who truly understand that religion - any religion worth its salt, in any event - is supposed to inspire good works, empower the vulnerable and render the world more just so that those who believe are truly ready to enter into the presence of their Creator at the end of this earthly life.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 08:17 AM

24. My admiration to you, IdaBriggs

I think these are lovely thoughts and actions. Good for you!

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 08:35 AM

25. IdaBriggs

IdaBriggs

It is inspiring to se someone who want to do something like this for a whole mount. It is often rewarding in ways that is difficult to explain for everyone.. I have tried to do it for a week to fast - and I found it difficult - to not eat when sun was up, and then eat just enough to not starve before the sun rise and then keep it up to the sun goes down again.. But it IS possible and even if a challenge for your mind and body it have a lot of rewards in the end...

And if you read some of the scriptures at the same time you fast - you tend to maybe understanding the scriptures in a whole different setting than with an full stomage: That is also a reward worth keeping.. After all - the Mind is maybe more into the meanings IN the scripture when your body is not...

I hope you wil get a nice Ramadan this year - and I also hope you wil have some great experiences with your life - and your reading.. And I do not belive you need to be an Muslim to have benefits for doing a ramadan - this is something everyone could benefit from, even if it is a hard experience.

Diclotican

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 09:09 AM

26. Pardon my colossal ignorance...

How are the days of Ramadan determined?

I seem to recall it falling later in the year and over the last few it seems to be arriving earlier.

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Response to Javaman (Reply #26)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 10:49 AM

29. stolen from another website

<snip>
Although Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This difference means Ramadan moves in the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year. The date of Ramadan may also vary from country to country depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not.
</snip>

http://www.when-is.com/ramadan-2012.asp

sP

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Response to ProdigalJunkMail (Reply #29)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 04:42 PM

30. Thanks! :) nt

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 10:39 AM

27. Ramadan Mubarak

thank you for a lovely post.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 10:45 AM

28. Good luck

I know a few people doing that, though it is their religion.

I know I tried to go vegetarian for lent. I was hurting and had to add fish in my diet in two weeks.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 10:11 PM

32. Thank you, everyone, for your kind words and encouragement.

 

My apologies, but I can't get on to DU as much as I used to (life, twins, projects, etc.), but I just wanted to say one more time

THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING SO SUPPORTIVE!!!

(Now I am going to bed because morning is going to be EARLY!!! Wish me luck - and best to all of you, as well!)

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Thu Jul 19, 2012, 10:41 PM

33. Good luck!

Personally, I really hate annual religious purity tests (Ramadan, Christmas, Lent etc.) I think living mindfully, daily, moves one farther along the good life without any public fealty acts.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #33)

Fri Jul 20, 2012, 04:56 AM

34. I understand your point.

 

(Hey, an advantage of early breakfast - a few free minutes to post - lol!)

The first two years I did it, only my immediate family and a few supportive friends knew I was doing it (mostly because I wasn't sure I would actually be able to do it, and didn't want any grief if I gave up). I even went to a family barbecue AND a big birthday party, and nobody noticed I was fasting (because I was being discreet); that was a bit of an eye opener! Last year I ended up "coming out" mainly because of a small office environment with lots of yummy treats, and not wanting to offend people when I suddenly stopped sharing in the bounty - lol!

I also like it when I break fast with some of my friends - its like mini-Thanksgiving! At home, when it's just me, it's "normal dinner, delayed" but WOW; one in particular needs to open her own restaurant! Lol!

My point is that this really isn't a "public" thing (except talking about it here on DU, of course), because no one is going to treat me differently if I don't do it, or have a day where I *have* to drink because of the heat or something. I am not supposed to be stupid about my health; just ... MINDFUL.

It is a personal thing, between me and my conscience.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #34)

Fri Jul 20, 2012, 09:45 AM

36. I know its a personal thing for you but for the religious community involved its a public spectacle

in general. The iftar dinner's I've been to have been just as you describe - like Thanksgiving but with a layer of self-righteousness.

Anyway, good luck again.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Fri Jul 20, 2012, 05:01 AM

35. Fasting is a good way to lose weight

in a hurry. When I was young man I had the will power to fast for a few days every month.

Now that I'm an old man in my golden years I enjoy eating too much to give it up. Maybe I'll go back to it next year when I retire. .

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