Hold Your Ground: Fasting of the Mind

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Today’s fast is quickly drawing to a close here on the eastern coast of the United States and with it day 2 of the blessed month of Ramadan. Early today I had planned to go tubing with some friends despite keeping up with my fasting, which seemed puzzling to them and others. “You mean, you’re not going to eat anything all day and still go with us?” asked one close friend; I replied that yes, of course, even if I might not be so full of energy. Al-hamdulilah, I did not end up having to confront that situation because of ongoing storms here and the group opted to go see the Dark Knight Rises (I recommend it highly). So yes, I had dodged one situation in which not eating would have made it less enjoyable, but a more difficult one was yet to come: sitting with friends while eating lunch and being tempted by them to break fast. For any readers living in the US or elsewhere where there is not a Muslim majority population I am sure you can relate; it was quite the test. The test, however, did not so much involve finding it hard to abstain from eating, but rather holding my tongue when chastised. Perhaps the fasting has left me a bit humorless and listless; however, the teasing was not something I expected from people familiar with Islamic practices. Regardless, despite my internal desire to berate them, I held onto my thoughts and just sat silently; silence in this particular instance seemed to knock the wind out of their figurative sails.

While I know it is only day 2 and tomorrow/Monday I will be breaking fast since I have to travel, I know that each day of fasting (in all senses) makes me feel a greater connection with my diin and reveals what strength I do possess. I also must note that I am eternally grateful to have loved ones who are sources of encouragement and wisdom in this time of adjustment; inshAllah they get some baraka too. Iftar is about 45 minutes away so I should begin preparations for Maghreb prayer and get some water and a date ready. For those fasting too hold strong and keep going; for those not but who have friends who are may you be a source of strength and love for them throughout Ramadan.

Salams for now.

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