Yearly, Muslims come together to partake in Ramadan, which entails of month refrain from eating and drinking. Due to health problems in the past years, I have not been able to participate in Ramadan regularly, until now. Fast after fast, I am continuously subject to more and more truths about life.
I am so privileged
Alright, I am a Muslim, Pakistani woman living in Trump’s America, so I do hold my own share of discrepancies. Despite this, I am so blessed and privileged to be living the life I am living. One of the central focuses and most common revelations achieved during Ramadan is for one to count their blessings. In the past, I would often attribute this to having food as the blessing and being deprived of it is a harsh, eternal reality for many. However, it is so much more than that. I have been given everything in life, but by just taking away two things: food and water, for just 17 hours, brings me to my knees. Towards the end of the fast, I feel light headed and miserable, just because two simple things were taken from me. Many in this world do not have food or water or many other blessings that I am provided on a daily basis. Ramadan has made me realize how blessed I am to have these resources.
To open my fast, my mother cooked a feast of my favorite dishes. Part of the reason why it was so hard to keep my first fast was due to that savory, spicy Biryani sitting in the dining room. Part of the reason why I got through it was due to me looking forward to gulping down that savory, spicy Biryani in the dining room. As I shoveled in rice and lamb into my mouth, I realized that I was incredibly blessed to be able to open my fast with such wonderful food. Meat is incredibly expensive in some countries and often only served on special occasions. However, here I was opening my first fast and many of my future fasts with meat. It is quite common for the poor in India or Pakistani to open their fast with some lentils and vegetables, yet they appreciate that as well. Being able to open my fast with such wonderful food was a privilege in of itself.
I am weak.
During my fast, I refrained indoors and steered away from engaging in strenuous work. Most of the world fasts but continues to work and engage in daily activities. I am specifically in awe of the people that work in the sun, in construction or other physically strenuous jobs, yet still fast. It takes a lot of personal will and strength to deprive ourselves of food and water regardless, yet simultaneously partaking in physical work must make it exponentially more difficult.
I must be more humble.
Maybe it is because of the holy, religious air that permeates the month of Ramadan, but maybe simply not eating and drinking can cause an overall very humbling experience. Rather than being as frivolous as I currently am, I wish to strive to become one more with the world and humanity. My family had the pleasure of opening fast for people at my mosque. Seeing everyone come together and break fast together, with food we had provided, brought for a newfound appreciation and gratitude for life.
Ramadan is far from over, yet the revelations I have made so far are bountiful in complexity and meaning. I hope for even more revelations as this month progresses.