Common Word, Common Lord

Common Word, Common Lord

Ramadan in Summer: No Less Dread, But Fasting In June and July Is The Very Least I Can Do

In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord

I cannot lie: I have no small amount of dread at the coming of the month of Ramadan, which starts June 28. Due to the lunar nature of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan this year (and for the next ten years) will fall during the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere. This means that fasting will last from approximately 3:30 AM until 8:30 PM, with frequently hot weather to boot. It is by no means an easy task, especially since fasting includes abstinence from even water. I pray the Lord that He makes the fast easy for all those who choose to do so, including this poor soul.

But I cannot lie and say I’m excited about fasting in June and July. In truth, I should be very excited: there is so much blessing and reward in this month. Islamic tradition states that the gates of Paradise are open, and the gates of Hell are closed; demons and devils are chained up; the reward for righteous deeds are multiplied many times over in Ramadan; during this blessed month, the Qur’an was revealed so that I can live a life in the light of God’s guidance and mercy.

But I cannot lie and say I’m excited about fasting in June and July.

During Ramadan, Muslims’ homes and their houses of worship are alive with people, and worship, and prayer, and the recitation of scripture. It is a wondrous time of fellowship and piety. Frequently, Muslims will get together to break the fast, and it is nice to get to see people you may not necessarily get a chance to see during the year. It is also a wonderful time of charity and concern for the other, especially since the fast of the day reminds you of those less fortunate, who frequently go hungry out of need and not choice. And with so many crises in the Muslim world today, concern for the less fortunate is particularly acute.

But I cannot lie and say I’m excited about fasting in June and July.

Yet, my God, look at me! All this whining about fasting during – yes – a very long day! Of course, if there one cannot fast due to a medical reason, then the fast is no longer obligatory on that person. In addition, pregnant and nursing mothers are also exempt from fasting, but they must make up the days later.

Still, every time Ramadan comes for the last few years, my face strains from the dread of knowing that I can’t drink my cup of coffee on my way to work…for a month. I can’t have that coveted 3PM cup of coffee that is just enough to keep me going until the end of my shift…for a month. I can’t have that occasional iced coffee (that is only 99 cents now) on the way home from work because, even after I leave from a long day at the hospital, there is still well over three hours before the sun will set…for a month.

My God! I am such a whiny wimp. Summer fasting is the very least that I can do for sake of my Beloved.

Now, of course, if Ramadan was not in the summer, I seriously doubt I would voluntarily fast (which would truly be magnanimous) on a long and hot July day. There are many Muslims who do just that, and my the Lord bless them tremendously. But, now, Ramadan is in the summer. Thus, if I am able to do so, I see fasting as the very least I can do in gratitude for all that the Beloved has done for me.

There is not a day that goes by during which I am not making mistakes; not falling short of what God wants of me; not succumbing to my weaknesses as a human being. Yet, despite the ugliness of my sins, the Lord shows me the Beauty of His Grace. Despite the horrible face I show Him, He continually shows me His Beautiful Countenance.

Thus, when the time comes for Ramadan, I should shut up and fast. It is time for me to show my gratitude in a way that I would not normally do: not eat or drink for 17 hours in the summer. It is time for me to step up for God because so many, many, many times, God has stepped up for me.

No, it is not going to be easy, and I cannot say that I will be fasting with a smile on my face. But, what keeps me from going into a full-on panic is the fact that – for every single moment of this man’s life – the Lord continually graces me with His Love, His Grace, His Beauty, and His Mercy. And I’ve done nothing – and can never do anything – for God to deserve this Grace.

So, when Ramadan starts this weekend, I plan to shut up and fast. It is the very least I can do.

  • skbn113

    Have your coffee, Mr. Hallabassa.

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