Happy Ramadan 1438 – 2017
Ramadan is once again upon us. All praise be to God Almighty, Who allows us to witness this auspicious month of fasting. A period in which we sacrifice food, drink, and more for His Sake. I am grateful my health permits me to take part in this Pillar of Islam. Ramadan is a time of self-sacrifice and hope. In spite of its intended purpose, during this month Muslims face the unyielding physiological urge to urinate throughout the night.
Dates, Fish, and Baklawa
In addition to religious obligations, I will continue working towards improving mobility. Recently, with renewed inspiration and physical therapy, I surpassed the benchmark of 6,000 steps, walking in place, at home. Regrettably, ambulating, walk or move about, outdoors is still laborious and encumbered by an incomprehensible health care bureaucracy. I received a prescription for a Rollator, a walker, in October 2016. However, the lack of one signature thus confines me still to the wheelchair.
Preparations for Ramadan include, among many activities, various recipes, and meals. Invariably, fanciful and mouth-watering ideas come to mind. A table adorned with delicacies awaits the end of a day-long fast. Iftar is the time of breaking the fast. I can see it now; spicy fish, mounds of rice; rainbow salads, piles of sweets, all awaiting rapacious hordes. Then, without delay, washed down with copious amounts of milk and Coca-Cola.
Well, in reality, this scene is somewhat inaccurate. After the first few days of Ramadan, those Iftar tables all begin to resemble one another. Pasta with pesto, chicken, rice, cereal, and easy to prepare vegetables like French fries find their way to the buffet. Frankly, it is during the time of religious austerity that French fries join the list of highly prized vegetables.
In as much as possible, studying, designing, writing, and the culinary creations will occupy some of my time, God willing. The challenge is fostering creativity while being sleep-deprived.
First and foremost, lack of sleep is the most unexpected and under-reported dimensions of Ramadan. No one warned me. As a new Muslim, I planned and plotted for the assault of hunger and thirst on my body and mind. I ate two servings of pasta and drank more than my fill of water. Then it happened. I got up to pee all night long. Unbeknownst to me, the most challenging part of Ramadan is an induced sleep deprivation. But this is not an ordinary sleepiness. It is one which results from urinating throughout the night.
This year, 2017, as with recent years, Ramadan encompasses the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Therefore, fasting includes the longest days on the calendar. New Yorkers will begin fasting just before 4 A.M. and finish soon after 8:30 P.M. You can do the math and see the fast endures for more than 16 hours. Therefore, how does one stay properly hydrated?
To explain further, I drink about two liters of water every day. So, in Ramadan, consumption occurs from sunset until the break of dawn. Invariably urinating throughout the night is the result. Urination is the discharge of urine from the body. This physiological response results from consuming liquids and breakdown of unwanted substances. In the case of Ramadan, the narrow time frame for consumption has its consequences. The greatest of them is sleep disruption and subsequent deprivation. Consequently, your otherwise pleasant Muslim friend or colleague morphs into a tired and cranky version of themselves. In my opinion, hunger is not the culprit.
So, the next time you see your Muslim friend or colleague during the month of Ramadan understand their constraints. Those limitations stem from want of sleep instead of hunger. Therefore, allow their calm demeanor to enchant you. Reason being, seeking sympathy is antithetical to the Summon. An Authoritative Command lightened with mercy and compassion. Yes, I will be sleepier for the next 29 or 30 days. At the same time, I am grateful my health concerns do not interfere with the Religious Command. A Directive which I embrace with gratitude, plus humility. To that end, I submit myself to the Law. A Legislation, Whose Author is the Only Being greater than oneself.
Finally, I would like to wish Happy Ramadan – 1438 – 2017 to those of you who are Muslims. As for those of you who are friends of Muslims, Happy Ramadan to them and you. If neither class applies to you, Happy Ramadan – 1438 – 2017 all the same. Enjoy a cookie, preferably something with marzipan for me. If you are not Muslim, try to get yourself invited to a Ramadan Iftar. You'll be glad you did.
Ramadan Mubarak 1438 – Blessed Ramadan 2017
You can learn more about Ramadan by clicking here.
Looking for wholesome recipes with a dose of humor, then click here.