Monday, July 4, 2016

A response to fasting

“Fasting is meant to take you, temporarily, out of the realm of the physical and focus your attention heavenward; as one Jewish guide to fasting puts it, 'at the heart of this practice is a desire to shift our attention away from our immediate needs and to focus on more spiritual concerns.” -Lauren F. Winner

Fasting has been a common practice in many religions for centuries. Depending on the religion, there are different rules and ways to fast. In Islam, they dedicate a whole month (the holy month), called Ramadan, to fasting. From sunrise to sunset they cannot eat or drink anything. In attempt to relate and better understand the Muslims we are serving this summer, I decided to fast the way they would.

I expected it to be difficult considering I drink a lot of water during the day. I was right. My mouth began to feel dry by lunch and I craved water the whole time! As a christian, when we fast, we are able to drink fluids so I was not used to the change. When it came to food, I handled my temptations surprisingly well. It does not get much worse than standing in a food court, at the mall, watching your friends scarf down pretzels, cookies, and icecream, while fasting! If you know me, you know my love for food...I was pretty impressed with myself (: Haha.

As I have spoken to Muslims this summer, I asked why they fasted. The responses I got all seemed to be the same, "It is a time to be closer to Allah, it teaches us patience, and helps us to realize our dependance on him." Some of the responses seem to be similar to christian reasons for fasting. I personally learned through this experience how to better relate to Muslims through this month of Ramadan and my own dependence on God. I am excited to learn more about the Muslim people and continue to be able to connect on a deeper level this summer. Please pray for salvation of the beautiful souls we have and will come in contact with this summer.