Waiting for Iftar

Turkey is still in the middle of Ramazan and tonight for Virtual Chef, we are hosting a broadcast of our Iftar meal. I have not converted. At least not to Islam–perhaps hedonism or bi-polar or senior citizen–but I’m not a born-again Muslim. However, Iftar is another excuse to eat and have friends over to eat with you, so we are doing it in our house over skype with our friends in the Netherlands. In the spirit of the evening, I got up at 4am (before dawn, when the obnoxious drummers come around to wake you up to eat) and drank some water and ate watermelon so that I wouldn’t get dehydrated. Then I went back to sleep until 9am or so. Then I went running to the yoga studio and did yoga and walked back uphill, sweating all the while, so that by the time I arrived home I had uncontrollable cottonmouth. Actually, it could have been controlled by the ingestion of a glass of water, but nothing is allowed to pass my lips going that way today. In another 4 hours I can have that glass of water.
By doing this fast, I have realized a couple of things about myself. One thing is that it is much easier for me to quit doing something than to start doing something. Secondly, hunger (but not thirst) is such a conditioned response. Of course I’ve gone much longer without eating than this before and knowing that I will not eat anything until later frees up time to do other, more productive things besides think about and prepare food. And lastly, I realize how spoiled I am to have access to clean, drinkable water without thinking about it when so many people on the planet don’t. Don’t worry, I haven’t converted to hippy-ism either.
Out of curiosity, I wanted to know why I was supposed to be fasting. Turns out it is the same old story–Mohammed fasted on his own for 3 days a month and then when the Quran was written, they decided to smoosh all 36 days of his fast into 30 days in a row during the month of Ramazan and 6 days in a row during the month of Shawwal. Why do people have to be so extreme?

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