The Ramadhan Diaries

Fasting in London and beyond

Archive for the tag “fasting”


Ok because this is an honest blog I have to say how it is. Today I am bored. Fasting slows you down and that’s not something I can normally do. I am not used to just focusing on one thing at a time. Normally I’m working on three different things at the same time. Sometimes it gets a bit stressful but generally that’s how I roll. It’s how things work for me and it deals with my short attention span. Never hanging around on one thing for too long for me to get bored with it.

But at the moment, fasting during these long hot days I am slowing right down – thinking through one task, one project or one commitment per day. I know its good for me but it is boring. I like being pushed and on the edge. I don’t normally realise that about myself until I get to Ramadan because I slow down and see things much clearer about myself. I know more about ‘me’ from the process of fasting than when I am full throttle into normal life. But today as I realise this I am bored.

When to fast and when not

So I might have slipped in my blogging obligations but to be fair I was exempt from fasting in the first week. I was on the lady’s holiday. So I am now a week behind in acclimatisation. But whilst we are at it I thought I would go through what the rules are for who can fast and who is exempt and what they can do to feel part of the gang.

Essentially fasting during Ramadan is compulsory for Muslim adults who are in good mental and physical health. The age of when Muslims are supposed to fast is when they have past the age of puberty. Those who have a chronic health condition which would result in a deterioration of their condition are of course exempt. A good idea for those in doubt is to check things out with your doctor first. The aim is not to make yourself unwell by pushing your body to do something it is not able to do because of ill-health. So be sensible people and don’t try to be a hero! There are other things you can do to make up for the missed days.

If you’re travelling and on a journey you are also exempt. but this is a case of do as I say and not what I do. I went to Libya in 2011 and my journey came towards the end of Ramadhan. I thought about not fasting during the journey – it was going to be a bit of a crazy one from a sleepy little village in Essex to Gatwick onto Tunis and then Tataouine near the Libyan-Tunisian border. Yes it was a hike and a half. But my flight was in the late afternoon and so I thought I’d tough it out and fasted. I am pretty glad I did. On the flight with Tunis Air I found that fellow travellers were also fasting and when it came to the iftar – breaking the fast  – I have never seen an inflight meal like it. We all got min-banquets on a tray. It was such a lovely sight and I felt really humbled by the respect given to us as travellers and Muslims observing Ramadhan. We even got an announcement from the pilot on the time when the fast was open. And that sealed my thoughts on whether I was going to fast for the rest of the days spent travelling even though I was exempt. Fasting in a Muslim country is a far different experience than fasting here in the UK and I wanted to embrace it.

The Muslim Council of Britain website suggests the following list of exemptions but acknowledges that some of them are optional:

• People who are mentally incapacitated or not responsible for their actions
• The elderly
• The sick
• Travellers who are on journeys of more than about fifty miles
• Pregnant women and nursing mothers
• Women who are menstruating

It is kind of widely appreciated that if you miss fasts you make them up later. And if you can’t do that then you feed those who can’t afford food.

Breaking Muscle article on fasting and it’s health benefits

Another article on fasting and it's health benefits.

What Happens To Your Body When You Fast

What Happens To Your Body When You Fast

I sourced this from Youtube – it’s made by Emel, the Muslim lifestyle magazine. I found it quite interesting to watch and it was quite straightforward to follow. Not too much science.

Travel Chaos Coming

Daily Mail on Olympics, Ramadhan and Traffic!

The Daily Mail has a good point! East London during Ramadhan is a pretty exciting place to be if you are a Muslim faster in the capital. It’s vibrant, full of atmosphere in the evenings and essentially a good place for congregational prayers. But this year it’s going to coincide with the Olympics. the already predicted travel chaos is going to be that much more interesting.

Muslim athletes and the Olympics-there’s more!

Muslim athletes and the Olympics-there’s more!

More on Muslim athletes fasting during the Olympics or the acceptance of the allowances to not fast. This time it’s an Aljazeera English piece.

Fasting and the Olympics

Fasting and the Olympics

There is a lot out their on this issue! It’s obviously causing a little bit of a stir. There a differing schools of thought and all are being aired and practised. I am loving the way the media are wondering how Muslim athletes are going to manage to fast and compete. It is totally hardcore and I’m impressed.

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