First experience is always interesting to be told. Likewise fasting during Ramadhan this year in the summer. I was feeling excited and hesitate at the same time. For more or less 19 hours we should not have meal or drink, even more the temperature in The Netherlands is raising tremendously up to 30 degrees Celsius. However, it is worth stories to share especially because I am living in student housing and suddenly my friends do not see me take any piece of food. Here are some questions that people usually react whenever I told them about fasting during Ramadhan.
1. What? Why?
Fasting is also commonly done by Christian before Easter celebration. But what is the difference? Is it only restriction to have your favorite food for instance meat? Fasting in Ramadhan prohibit us to have meal and drink start from dawn to sunset. They asked "why?" so the main purpose of fasting is controlling human lust and building our empathy. Anyway, based on medical aspect fasting is beneficial to detoxify our gut.
2. How are you doing?
I have shared kitchen in my dorm. It is always vibrant every morning and evening. We often arrange an-improvised-dinner or gathering after hours. Sunset happens around 10 pm during summer which mean I start to eat very late recently. Some of friends noticed that they seldom meet me during meal time. It was quite surprising when they knocked my door and reminded me to eat something. I was touched, we do care each other. Now, whenever I pass by kitchen they always ask my condition. Finally, I manage to convince them that I am okay because I have been doing this since I was kid.
P.S. I give thanks to Spanish and Greek friends for accompanying me during iftar (break fasting after sunset) while they have late dinner.
3. That's too much!
Trying to make people understand about fasting and Ramadhan is not an easy one. I'd rather to simplify it to explain the essential of fasting. Nevertheless, some of them keep thinking that it can be dangerous because of the weather and there is risk of dehydration, bla..bla..bla..
Well, I bear on my mind that this is new for them so what they need is a proof. After couple days, they witness that fasting doesn't affect our activity in campus (including whole day group work, practical class, and exam before summer holiday).
4. I am sorry!
For this kind of response, I beg them please don't feel inconvenient because you are eating in front of fasting people. As a Moslem, we are voluntary and happily doing this. Ramadhan is month that we wish to come every year. We celebrate it! We are happy everyday, because we achieve something. First meal after full day of fasting is reward that we appreciate. This month, we are seemingly reborn as better person after successfully hold on our lust.
5. Respect, we will wait for you!
The day is getting brighter, summer is here! Everybody want to go out, chill the day up to do many things like it is always daylight. One agenda on the main list is Barbeque Party. Many invitation pile up on my calendar, mostly are started around 6pm. Good food, good friend, who can resist? I also don't want to miss the moment. The plan is mainly for gathering while I grill food for iftar. I tell them that fine by me if they start to eat, but they kindly insist that they will wait until 10pm so we have late dinner together.
Such an unexpected response! I am glad that I have them all. People thought fasting for more than half of the day is suffering. I guarantee that it is super fun when you are surrounded by respectful friends who act like your family.
Wageningen, 25 Ramadhan 1436 H