The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is observed by 1.6 billion people around the world. Practicing Muslims will be fasting from dawn until dusk (approximately 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.) beginning on April 2, 2022 and ending on May 2, 2022. Fasting means no food or liquid of any kind. Yes, that includes water! Ramadan is meant to be a time of spiritual discipline – of deep contemplation of one’s relationship with God, extra prayer, increased charity and generosity, and intense study of the Quran. It is a joyous month meant to be shared and celebrated with loved ones.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars – or duties – of Islam, along with the testimony of faith, prayer, charitable giving, and making a pilgrimage to Mecca. The practice of fasting is intended to be a reminder of human frailty and dependence on God for sustenance. It reduces the distractions of life to allow time to focus on our relationship with God. Importantly, it provides an example of the hunger and thirst the poor experience, which is intended to encourage empathy for and charity to the less fortunate.
During Ramadan, it is not unusual for Muslims to be up past midnight for prayer and then get up around 5 a.m. to eat the first meal of the day, which must last until sunset. This means lots of high-protein food and drinking as much water as possible until dawn, after which we cannot eat or drink anything. At dawn, Muslims will perform their first prayer of the day, followed by four additional mandatory prayers throughout the day and an optional late-night prayer, which is typically only preformed during Ramadan. Many Muslims, myself included, are typically more devoted to their prayers during this month and try to set time aside throughout their day to timely complete each of the five scheduled daily prayers. For me, that means blocking time on my work calendar to ensure I am not scheduled for meetings or appointments during the various prayer times that fall within work hours.