Tariq Javaid gives an insight into Ramadan and shares the experience with some ‘willing’ colleagues!
We are in the midst of Ramadan which is being observed by millions of Muslims.
What is Ramadan and why do Muslims observe Ramadan.
Ramadan is in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to prophet Mohammed.
Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam alongside faith, prayer, charity and the pilgrimage (i.e. they are mandatory and the foundation of a Muslims life).
For Muslims, Ramadan is a month of fasting, prayer, spiritual reflection, self-restraint and community. Fasting for Muslims typically includes the increased offering of prayer, recitation of the Quran and an increase of doing good deeds and charity.
The month of fasting lasts 29-30 days and is based on the sightings of the astronomical moon. As lunar months are shorter than solar, the Islamic calendar does not correspond with the Gregorian calendar and means Ramadan occurs around 12 days earlier every year.
Fasting is obligatory on all adult Muslims except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, elderly, pregnant, diabetic or chronically ill.
While fasting just before dawn to sunset Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking.
A meal is typically taken before dawn known as Suhoor and after sunset known as Iftar.
Eid-al-Fitr is the “festival of the breaking of the fast” and marks the end of Ramadan every year.
A typical day for me during Ramadan is getting out of bed at 1am and having my breakfast and prayers before going back to bed around 2am. Typically I will be out of bed again at 7am and into work, while at the weekends I can stretch a lie in till 8am! In the afternoon/evening I will undertake my obligatory prayers and recite the quran. At around 9.15pm I will break my fast and have dinner prior to finishing my daily prayers. Usually I will be back in bed around 11.30 and squeeze in a short nap, before it starts again!
This year I challenged some of my colleagues to join me and fast for one day, with George Humphreys, Jack Turnbull, Tom Hartley and Chris Hopwood stepping up.
The challenge got off to a bad start, with Tom managing to sleep through the early morning and missing suhoor. The other three were wise not to make the same mistake, with George consuming 20 Shredded Wheat, Chris several eggs and toast and Jack four eggs and two pittas.
George was particularly subdued during the morning and at around 10.30am realised he had in fact had 20 mini Shredded Wheat during the early hours, with his energy levels reflecting this. Tom was quietly working away at his laptop whilst Jack and Chris hot desked in York and somehow managed to avoid all temptations.
Lunch came and went without a murmur, with all four fasters battling through like seasoned pros.
As some of you may be aware when George started at G+E he invested in some curved monitors to enhance the immersive experience of a spreadsheet. This level of immersion was however beginning to take on a new meaning as George tried to use the spreadsheet. The numbers were floating right in front of his eyes, until darkness begin to set in as his eye lids shut and his stomach rumbled. No longer able to persevere George shot to the kitchen for some soup.
That was sadly the end of George’s Ramadan but credit to him for lasting till 3pm.
At around 4pm Tom was feeling the lack of water but somehow managing to keep his cool, although there are rumours his mood diminished later in the day!
With no word from Jack or Chris, suspicion was growing whether they had also succumbed, but I’m happy to report they made it through the day unscathed.
We had decided to open the fast together that evening, with Sara, myself, Jack, Chris and Tom meeting for Iftar at my Lahores.
Poor old jack was holding his head as it was banging, whilst Chris was clearly feeling the effects of dehydration.
However, we all enjoyed the Iftar, opening the fast in the traditional manner with dates followed by a well deserved glass of water and the main meal.
Inspired by the challenge, Jack has vowed to undertake a solid food fast once a week.
Following his first attempt, George has been using the subsequent time to prepare himself for fasting and has decided to give it another go on Friday 31st…. Good luck George!