Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Fasting preparation and Qur'an review

So I've already cut my coffee intake by half and I figure by Sunday I will be down to one cup a day, from there I'll switch to decaf until Ramadan begins.

I spoke with an Egyptian colleague and he warned me that it was not going to be easy, by midafternoon you're really wiped out. And I have to be careful about going outside and exposing myself to the summer heat for any length of time since you are not allowed to drink water when fasting. He also mentioned that the traditional meal for breaking your fast is some dates and laban (a type of yogurt drink) but I think I will look up the actual Hadith on that. He said it was not a requirement though and you can break your fast with any food.

He seemed a bit perplexed that I would be trying this since I am not Muslim (makes sense, how many non-Muslims generally go "hey I am going to fast too") but he was supportive and perhaps a bit bemused that I was doing this as a cultural experience to share on my blog.

We also discussed briefly about how most Muslims don't take fasting to the extremes, such as people who won't have a shower during the day for fear that they might swallow some water, it's all about genuinely trying to stick with the fast without going to ridiculous lengths. I'm willing to bet some Islamic scholars would disagree with that view.

I also got out my trusty Qur’an to review the sections on fasting. Surprisingly for such a significant event the Qur'an itself only has a handful of passages on it, primarily 2:183- 2:187, the most significant ones being 2:184, 2:185 and 2:187. In brief:

2:184 -- observe the fast for a fixed number of days but if you are ill or on a journey you do not have to fast and can make up those days later. If you have difficulty fasting (because you are elderly or pregnant) you can instead feed a poor person for each day you do not fast.

2:185 -- a month of Ramadan begins when you first sight the crescent moon. And reiterates that if you are ill or on a journey you can make up the days later.

2:187 -- you can have sexual intercourse with your spouse during the evenings. You can eat and drink until the light of dawn appears but you must ensure that you fast until nightfall (i.e all day).

For some reason I recall that children are not supposed to fast either but I don't see it in those sections. I'll do some reviews of the Hadiths later where there will be a lot more detail about fasting and what is and is not acceptable.


Anonymous said...

Salman ibn Amir Dhabi related that the Prophet said: Break your fast with dates, or else with water, for it is pure (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi).

Anonymous said...

I think it is interesting that you are attempting this :)
good luck!

Anonymous said...

In a hadith related by Ali Bin Abi Talib (RAA), the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "The Pen that records the deeds has been lifted from three people; the
insane person, until he recovers; the sleeping person, until he wakes up; and the minor, until he dreams (i.e., has wet dreams.)"

Anonymous said...

Fasting is not obligatory on a non-Muslim because he is not commanded to fast and even if he decides to fast and follows all the regulations, Allah (SWT) will not accept it. If he or she wants to fast the Islamic fast, he has to declare the Shahadah first, and only then will the fast be accepted.