So I’ve gone and lost a blog post. I don’t know how that has happened, only that husband is currently giving the interweb a piece of his mind (like you know, how the internet LISTENS and all..)

So Ramadan is finally going along swimmingly after a very rocky and fever filled start. 7 year old has done a couple of fasts but as he was sick too, he’s decided to give most of the rest of the month a “see how I feel on the day” attitude. 4 year old managed to fast half the day which we all believe is an achievement  of Everest like proportions as he is a famous grazer, usually needing sustenance every 1 1/2 to 2 hours mashaAllah.

I’ve always believed that Ramadan melts even the hardest of hearts and even the Muslims who are quite happy to gamble, drink alcohol, sleep around etc etc actually FAST during this month (and do a gosh darn good job of it, too) I only realised a friend at school was Muslim during Ramadan when she happily abstained from all the things she was generally keen on. I suppose I’m naive and I’m not trying to judge anyone here but I am always genuinely surprised when a Muslim tells me they don’t observe the fasts of Ramadan.

What I am not surprised about are the reactions from non-Muslims when they find out what we can and can’t do during the daylight hours. NO WATER? OH MY GOD! ISN’T THAT LIKE, UNHEALTHY??? HOW MANY PEOPLE DIE? YOUSE PEOPLE MUST BE  CRAZY! A WHOLE MONTH? YOU CAN’T EAT FOR A WHOLE MONTH?!!! WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? DO CHILDREN HAVE TO FAST? WHAT IF YOU ARE LIKE SICK OR SOMETHING?! CAN’T YOU HAVE A BIT OF BARLEY SUGAR??!!

(what exactly is barely sugar anyway?)

A gymfriend (she is more of a junkie than I am, if that’s even possible) asked if because I enjoy the gym I may be exempt from doing the normal fast so I could partake in three-hourly protein shakes. (?)

So for those Muslims out there not in the fasting way and for all those non-Muslims wondering exactly what it’s like to fast, here goes: (I’m not going into the spiritual stuff because that’s too personal)

1. One’s sense of smell is heightened 100 fold. The fasting Muslim can sniff out a cake crumb from THREE metres. Subway smells good at the best of times but try walking past it when one is fasting. HOT BREAD OVERLOAD.

2. In my experience, there are three distinct mood changes in the fasting person

a) The grump – this one complains the whole time, about hunger, tiredness and thirst. They are irritable during daylight hours but miraculously become happy, easy going individuals at iftar (the time to break the fast). Until of course they need to go to the mosque for taraweeh (extra prayers performed during this month)

b) The patient one – believe it or not some people become paragons of virtue and patience. Nothing is too much hassle, they are usually quiet but in good spirits. It may surprise you to know that most of the time, I actually fit this category (although for the first few days I am the grump)

c) The giggler – lack of glucose most often causes one to be irritable but there are those who are affected in a completely different way. My grandmother (may Allah grant her jannah) was a giggler. She would think of something and start a small laugh, which would escalate into a body shaking chortle. And it would take ages for her to settle down.

3. We all become acutely aware of the time. Watches are synchronised, people are making calls to check the correct time. One person stays glued to the clock while people frantically prepare the food. The minute the minute hand changes, everyone is screaming “It’s TIME! It’s TIME!! WHERE ARE THE DATES??!!” If Maghrib is prayed a bit late in the other months, nobody so much as bats and eyelid but HEAVEN FORBID WE FAST ONE EXTRA SECOND IN RAMADAN. (It’s bid’ah you know)

4. Fasting Muslims avoid talking too much. They usually put a hand to their mouth to shield others from the scourge of fasting person – HALITOSIS.

5. We manage. Yes we get tired and sometimes a bit hungry and often times a bit thirsty but Allah grants us strength we didn’t think we had. We are usually able to work our normal jobs, normal hours, sit for exams and function like normal people. And yes, you are really ok to eat and drink in front of us.

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