Not being able to have food or drink is not easy, especially for me, as a well-respected foodie. This is the only month in the year, when food doesn’t take up 90% of my thoughts, Alhamdolillah.
The first few days of Ramadan are testing. It’s when the usual habits of drinking coffee and eating delicious brunch meals are stopped overnight and cravings begin to creep at you. After an entire year of eating during the day, I have to remember that, I can’t. There is a wisdom in overcoming struggle.
There are physical, social, emotional, psychological and spiritual components that interplay in proving that this experience is for mental and physical benefit. It not only revives the drive of pushing ourselves for the sake of God, but also serves as a reminder of how strong our will is.
There is a joyous happiness in knowing your internal strength and willpower. Its a king of rejuvenation for your soul and body. It does not just impact my food and drink, I tend to reflect on my character, and behaviour, practicing self-discipline and control especially during Ramadan.
When I was a child, Ramadan meant sweets! Lavish Dinners! Seeing friends! and towards the end, Eid! Presents! New clothes! However, as I matured I began to realise there is so much more to this blessed month. I appreciate how it brings the best out in people, and the opportunity to spend time appreciating your family and loved ones. Ramadan brings about a change within my household. I live in a house of 10 people, and coming from an Indian background, there were a number of traditions that we follow, particularly special foods that we eat. The specialty dishes that only come out for Iftars during Ramadan reminds the blessings of my mum’s cooking.
As I grew up, I began to understand the decree and the wisdom behind why we are asked to fast. My grandfather would tell me that we fast in order to feel empathy for those who are suffering in extreme poverty, where people either had no food, or at most, one simple and basic meal a day. Ramadan is a month of deep meditation and reflection where the idea of self-control, discipline and patience are key to establishing the foundations of my faith.
Above all reasons, ultimately the reason I fast is because it has been asked of me by God and I fast for the devotion to my faith and for the love of God.
Through out the years, I have discovered the physical and spiritual impact that Ramadan inspires within me. Ramadan is the time when I can focus on self-improvement, and exercising patience in order to be a better human being. It is an opportunity to reflect on behaviour and personality, to start good habits and end bad ones; an opportunity, one month every year where faith can be renewed. This process of self-improvement starts with Ramadan, but it does not only remain for this one month, it is in preparation for the rest of my life.
During the month of Ramadan, that is when I am the busiest, working tirelessly day and night in organising the Eid Festival for the Australian Multicultural Community. I see how much I can push myself during Ramadan, how strong I feel without food or drink for twelve hours. I find myself working more efficiently when I am fasting, without distractions of food, it makes my senses a lot more sharper. In the final days of Ramadan, I feel as though something of great significance and love is leaving. It is bitter sweet, because as Ramadan ends, the big celebration of Eid is right around the corner!
Being able to celebrate Eid with my family is the biggest highlight of the year. Seeing the smiling faces of the Australian Multicultural Community during the Eid Festival, being able to see how all my hard work contributed to a successful Eid Festival is a feeling that cannot be described.