James’ SLO Life…Ramadan Mubarek

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As mentioned last week, this week starts the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. This may not mean anything to many of you reading this, but to 23% of the world, this is a very important time.  Starting on Tuesday or Wednesday (depending on sect), Muslim around the world will be fasting from Fajr (morning prayer) until Mahgrib (sunset prayer) every day for a month. This means no food, water, tobacco, sex, or hostilities during the daytime hours. All other vices should also be given up during this month to maintain a pure mind and body. This fast represents the month that the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) spent in the desert alone and was sent down the Holy Quran to bestow upon the world. The personal aspects of this time is to be grateful for what you have while gaining empathy for those who don’t have all you have, while learning to work through your hunger and thirst and short temper to gain a much greater sense of spirituality.

This is not easy by any means, especially in the USA. In the muslim world, society revolves around the fasting hours and businesses shift hours to accommodate muslims. Here, no adjusting business hours and no special treatment is given to make it easier. Cart runs in 110 degree heat make for a challenging day of fasting not to mention starving and ringing people up for groceries while smelling demo food from the back of Trader Joe’s. Not to mention that I think I’ve met 2 other people in 5 years in North County that are also Muslim. But every night when it is time to break fast, it’s a wonderful experience of flavors and euphoric feelings while your starved body practically tingles as the first nutrition it has received in 15 hours makes its way into the mouth and down to the stomach. You think this would help with dieting and/or losing weight. Because we stay up all night eating, and then go to bed, we tend to gain weight during Ramadan even though we are eating half the calories as during the rest of the year.

So as the first day creeps in, I must focus my intentions for this month so that I may be a great dad, a great husband, a great employee, and a great person despite my frustrations and short temper because of my hunger. I know the sense of accomplishment and spiritual growth will feel great in a month… but as of right now, all I can feel is hunger pains and i just want to sleep. Ramadan Mubarek to all my friends, Muslim or not.

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