Quaker Universalist Conversations

A note on fasting

Philip Seldek describes himself as an anthropologist, linguist, scientist, researcher, communicator, music lover, conversationalist, sportsman, visitor and resident in many countries, speaker of many languages, worker in development, who can only say that most of the time “Do No Harm” was practiced and personal gain was had, financial, educational, romantic, in solidarity with the human condition, an agnostic intensely interested in what makes religions tick and why they exist.

As an ex-Catholic faster and a person who has fasted during Ramadan, I found that fasting was most of all a bodily exercise. I simply followed the rules and fasted either as a Catholic or a Muslim.

Muslim fasting was of harder, as it was a complete fast during daylight hours, while the Catholic fasting was merely partial: denial of various non-Lenten consumption patterns.

In neither case did I focus my mind on “spiritual matters.” I simply did what was required.

A note on Ramadan fasting: I found that many Muslims in Kenya gained weight during Ramadan as they ate better at night than they ever had during the day. Among non-Muslims, it was a pleasure to be invited to dinner during Ramadan, as the best food could be had.

Residents in Mombasa have a communal iftar meal on July 30, 2012. Religious leaders have encouraged interfaith activities to strengthen cohesion in the face of terrorism. [Bosire Boniface/Sabahi]

Many Muslims simply turned day into night and vice-versa, going to sleep at dawn and awaking around sunset, in order to consume iftar, which is served as a pre-breakfast snack.

Those who had to work during the day had it harder. When fasting myself, I found that the first few days of work were difficult but once one was used to it, fasting was easy.


Notes

Muslim fasting

Roman Catholic Fasting

Image

Communal iftar, from “Kenyan Muslims and Christians promote peace during Ramadan,” on Sabahi Online.

Residents in Mombasa have a communal iftar meal on July 30, 2012. Religious leaders have encouraged interfaith activities to strengthen cohesion in the face of terrorism. [Bosire Boniface/Sabahi]