Ramadan Diaries | “An Appetite for Ramadan”

Feroud Seeparsand discusses what Ramadan means to him and why he fasts.

I write this blog just before Ramadan starts and I have the usual mixture of feelings.  After all, depriving your body of food and water is a very odd thing to do!  On one side, I have hopes of increased spirituality, on the other I ask why I fast in the first place?

Why do I fast?

For me Ramadan is an annual reminder, a time for contemplation:

  • what do I value?
  • how can I find peace of mind?
  • how can I develop myself…?​​​​​​​

As we may run around work, family, and friends, it can be difficult to find the time to sit still and contemplate the fundamentals of life.  It may come as no surprise that a lack of food and water encourages stillness.

Ramadan is a time for me to reconnect with myself, to nature, to all religions (most religions have a concept of fasting).  It reminds me to be grateful for all that I have- a sip of water can become meaningful and that in turn helps me to be less materialistic.

What do I do during Ramadan?

Apart from the obvious fast itself (which can act as detox), Ramadan is a chance to curb bad behaviours (e.g. eating without appreciation) but it is also a time to increase good behaviours (e.g. charity).

I find you feel for humanity more (whether it be a homeless person you walk past or something you see on the news).  Within the first 10 days, many Muslims will reach out to God’s mercy.

It is also a time to remember those who may no longer be with us.

At the end of Ramadan (i.e. Eid), I would normally celebrate with a mix of food, family, and friends.  However, with these Covid times, I still find it difficult to predict what it will be like this year.

What I find most difficult to communicate, is how positive and energised I am despite the fast (albeit some days more than others)!  So, here I close this blog with the famed poet Rumi:

“There's hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness.

We are lutes, no more, no less.

If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music.

If the brain and belly are burning clean with fasting,

every moment a new song comes out of the fire.

The fog clears,

and new energy makes you run up the steps in front of you…”

Whatever your appetite for Ramadan is, I wish you a Happy Ramadan!