Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ramadan - One-week fasting trial

Ramadan time is here again. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is the month of fasting in the Islamic faith. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset every day for a month, this year running from 1st-29th August.

Unfortunately, Ramadan for us means a lot of Malay youths wandering the neighbourhood streets at night setting off fireworks and firecrackers until midnight, disturbing us and our children's sleep, and being a general nuisance to all.

However, yesterday as I was shopping, I noticed all the restaurants pretty much empty, as Muslims refrained from food and drink during the daylight hours.

As a Christian I also participate in fasting, though at different times to Muslims. We fast on the first Sunday of every month, for 24 hours, or by skipping two meals. We have the opportunity to donate the money saved on our meals to help the poor and hungry wherever in the world they may be. However one fasts, the reasons remain the same.

There is a distinctly spiritual element to fasting. Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights. The Bible states: "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loosen the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?"

And from the English translation of the Holy Qur'an: "Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn self-restraint - Ramadan is the month in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear Signs for guidance and judgement between right and wrong. So every one of you who is present at his home during that month should spend it in fasting...Allah...wants you to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance you shall be grateful."

For more information on Ramadan and fasting from a Muslim perspective, follow these two links:

So as I was walking home yesterday evening with my shopping and each-a-cup drinks, I decided right then that I would give this  sunrise to sunset fasting a go. I wanted to experience what the Muslims are experiencing this month. I've decided that I will be fasting for one week, beginning Monday 8th August, until Sunday 14th August, 2011. Of course, I'll be blogging about it each day. 

I hope you'll follow me over the course of those 7 days. While fasting I will spend more time trying to establish my relationship with God through prayer and the study of God's words as found in the Holy Scriptures of Christianity and Islam.

So I'll strive to tolerate the noise of firecrackers and all that negative side of the month, and focus on the fast. Let's see how it goes!

Would you be willing to give the one-week fasting trial a try?


  1. Hi Duncan. That was a very interesting post about fasting from you today. I can imagine that the firecrackers must be a bit annoying, especially if they disturb the children! I think it is a good thing that you are going to be doing for 7 days, especially in exploring your relationship with God. It will be interesting to see how you feel at the end of the week.

  2. Interesting Duncan. As my husband is Muslim, I have decided to join him this Ramadan. I am at my 3rd day of Fasting.
    I wanted to do it for the same reasons, understand the importance of this blessed month and explore my relationship with God.
    Thought it's hard to restrain from food and drink for 17/18 hours, it is a nourishing experience that help you realise we should all work together to erase hunger and give you time to reflect on the scriptures and your relationship with God,the Creator of Life.

    Best of luck for your fasting week. Can't wait to read your first impressions. Take care

  3. What a lovely think to do, fasting one day a month and donating the food money to charity. There are many fast days in the Jewish religion too, most especially the High Holy Day called the Day of Atonement.

  4. mashAllah! i think this is a great idea, even boris johnson had a similar idea, saying people should try fasting for one day to see whats its like :) i hope it goes well for as it is a great spiritual experience!

  5. Mr Duncan, celebrating Ramadan by setting off fireworks, is not the right thing to do. Good Muslims will not do that.
    We will go to the mosque for prayers and reciting the Quran. This is the culture and tradition that comes from the Chinese. Further more, firecrackers are illegal. You can report them to the police.

    Anyway, can't wait to hear your experience about fasting

    p/s.. before fasting, don't forget to have your 'Sahur' (early morning breakfast)first.. best of luck

  6. Islam was the second unit when I taught World History and I was always excited to see how excited the kids were learning about another culture, and specifically, the holiday of Ramadan.

    I don't think I would be successful fasting, mainly because I'm trying to be healthy and hit the gym on a regular basis. I can definitely feel how my workout is affected when I haven't been eating properly. Then again, I'd certainly be willing to give it a shot; I would just need to be extremely careful in how I did it.

    Best of luck with your experiment. I think this is extremely admirable and I'm proud of your attempt.

  7. To everyone, thanks for your comments and for taking an interest in my one-week fasting trial. Thanks to those who gave the advice about the early morning breakfast.

    Rosalind, I'll have to do a little research about the Jewish fast days :)

  8. It's interesting as I usually don't each much during daylight hours anyway. One thing which has always puzzled me is how muslims are affected when they live in countries such as Iceland, or northern Norway where daylight hours are probably 20+ at this time of year. That makes it much harder than perhaps 12 hours of fasting. Are there special considerations?
    Good luck with it for next week Duncan.

  9. Hi Craig, thanks for dropping by. That's a good point but I don't really know. I'm sure there are some special considerations, otherwise they might not be sleeping at all for a month!


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