muslimahMERICAN - It's not an oxymoron.

by The Q


Last year, a group of not-Muslim internet friends joined me during Ramadan to experience a full day of fasting.  They tweeted their experiences throughout the day using the #TryFasting hashtag and most of them agreed to do it again this year.  We invite you to join us again on Friday, August 3, 2012 for #TryFasting2012.  To participate, sign up using the form in the right-hand sidebar of this page.  You can also join us on Facebook in the Official TryFasting2012 Group.

To fast in the Muslim tradition, there are a few basic, universal rules:

  1. You fast between dawn and sunset. (Check your local weather website to find out the exact time for dawn and sunset in your area)
  2. Fasting means no: food, liquid (water or other drink), smoking, drugs, gum/candy/mints, or sex.
  3. You should break the fast as soon as possible after sunset, without delaying.
Now.  If you’re interested in really experiencing the fast in a special way, I recommend a couple other things:
  1. On that day, plan some act of charity even if it is small.  The purpose of the fast is not only for spiritual purification but to teach empathy for those who have no choice but to go hungry and thirsty.  A small donation, some bottles of water handed out to some homeless folks…it doesn’t have to be big…
  2. Try to take some time during the day to reflect on what you’re doing and why.  If you’re religious you might try a prayer.  If you have no faith tradition, a simple meditation on sacrifice, empathy for the poor, or the need for proper food and water for every human being on earth.
And finally some tips:
  1. Prepare in advance–you WILL feel crappy, so arrange your early morning meal and your fast-breaking meal ahead of time so that it requires minimal preparation.
  2. If you are prone to caffeine withdrawal headaches, pop a couple Advil with your morning meal.  Trust me on this.
  3. Stay busy.  You may feel bad, but you’ll feel 10x worse if you just sit around all day and think about being hungry.
  4. Talk to other people about your fast and join in our Twitter discussion.  It totally helps to have moral support.
Muslims fast for 30 days during Ramadan and it takes a lot of discipline.  Even during a single day of fasting you may be shocked at some of the feelings it evokes.  Anger, fear, confusion or just self-pity are common when you’re fighting back the ego. On the other hand, you may realize that hunger–real hunger–SUCKS.  And the fact that people in the world go to bed hungry every night is something we should all be working hard to fix.
Fellow Muslims — Feel free to join in the conversation and leave fasting tips or words of encouragement for the participants.


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