Discover what Ramadan is really like

Anisha Hussain writes about her experiences of Ramadan and its’ origins.
 
 
 
 
As we approach the last ten days of Ramadan, Muslims know how frantic it can be; from preparing for Eid to making the most of the nights, it can be overwhelming to get it done. 
 
Nevertheless looking back on the basics we see that Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is one of the Five Pillars (fundamental religious duties) of Islam where we undergo a period of prayer, fasting, charity and reflection for Muslims around the world. 
 
So where did it all begin? 
 
Well, “Ramadan” is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of food and drink. 
It is considered the holiest season in the Islamic year as it commemorates the time when the Qu’ran (Islamic holy book) was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). 
 
Ramadan ends when the first crescent of the new moon is sighted again, marking the new lunar month’s start. Eid-al-Fitr is the Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.
 
What does it feel like?
 
As I’ve been fasting since the age of 13, I can honestly say each time is different. As the seasons change, the duration of the fast depends of the weather and what you do on a daily basis. This year we face the longest fasts that we will ever do. 
 
With the 18 hour fast and the scorching weather, it can be quite difficult due to a lack of water.
 
However this year for me, has been easy. Keeping busy is key; it can be reading a book, being at work or taking up a hobby; it takes your mind of the thirst and hunger and allows you to be productive. 
 
The surprising thing about fasting is that when it comes to breaking it at sunset, you don’t feel hungry at all. 
 
There is a saying which is heard a lot throughout this month which is “Everyone has fasted themselves full”. As soon as you break your fast, you usually do it with one date and water. You spend all day thinking, “I'm going to eat this, I'm going to eat that”, but when it comes to it... nothing. 
 
Ramadan also highlights the value of family, community and unity. The feeling of friends and family coming together at one time - to eat and pray together regardless of age, gender or race - brings a feeling which no one can describe. 
It brings on a sense of self reflection as it reminds us of how lucky we are to be surrounded with not only material needs but love from the ones who make us happy. 
 
You see, the human body is capable of many things; millions of people around the world who are in far worse situations than us can go without food / water for days and still perform more manual jobs than any of us. 
And that’s just it - fasting not only means abstaining from food and water, but also reflecting on what others don’t have, bettering yourself and general well being. 
 
See it as physical and mental detox… out with the bad and in with the good.