Thursday 30 July 2009

Blessings in The Long Days of Fasting

I was asked my opinion this week about something I had never come across before. A very bright sister I have a lot of affection and respect for was asked by a number of people about what she would be doing about the fact that the fasts this year would last from approximately 2am to 10am. People were suggesting that the hours be fixed for ease. She wondered if I had heard people talking about this and what opinions were becoming apparent.

I was entirely stumped. I had heard about nothing like this. In England we have quite dramatic differences in the length of the day between summer and winter. From 8am to 4pm in winter and from 4am to 10pm in the summer. When I was a little girl I remember the fasts opened after my bedtime and it was very much an accepted fact for me that those long fasts would come round again as an adult. I felt that we were very lucky that we got the short winter fasts during our formative years, so that we could handle better the longer fasts of summer.

Our weather is also quite mild, mixing sunny days (maxing at 30C) with rain showers. When I think of my family in Pakistan fasting in temperatures of up to 45C and not being able to drink water, it puts the whole issue into a different perspective.

I believe that when we fast to please Allah (SWT), he makes it bearable for us. I am thinking of fasting in Ramadan and how easy it is and then how hard it is after Ramadan. I don't think He asks of us more than we can bear. I’m going to aim to do the long hours and with the relish and pleasure that self-denial brings in this time of over-consumption we live in (and if I lose my post-baby fat in the process, I won’t complain at all).


  1. 10am or pm?

    I agree with you about this. Each day that we are hungry and thirsty inshaallah we should thank Allah that is temporary, that we are doing it for his sake, and not because of famine.

    Hamdullah. When I think of other muslims and non-muslims throughout the world who starve and go to bed thirsty on a daily basis, it breakes my heart.

    The fast will last approx 4am to 830pm-ish for us I believe. This will be my first ramamdan in summer inshaallah.

  2. As-Salaamu 'alaikum,

    In my experience, the fasts have indeed been bearable after the first couple of days or so, and they are made more so by being kept busy. My worst day last year was one in which I had skipped suhoor because I had been told I was going to be driving to Peterborough, which if you're going from London is well beyond the limit beyond which you don't have to fast. When I got to work, however, I was told I was only going to west London, which made me really angry. Then again, I had got the extra sleep, but waiting around the Westfield building site on an empty stomach wasn't my idea of keeping busy.

    They have definitely been getting more draining the last couple of years, though, and I have no idea how I'll cope when they come back before 3am. I have fantasised about clearing off to South America, but I can't do that on my finances.

    By the way, midwinter fasts start around 6:30, not 8am; that's when the sun rises.