Well, it’s about three hours until time to break the fast here. I would be lying if I said I’m not feeling the effects (ie. hunger, thirst, sure to be followed by some light-headedness and maybe a little nausea). However, today has been easier than yesterday.I find that the first three to five days are the most difficult. After that, the going without food and water part of fasting gets easier. The body adjusts.
The greater struggle, the one that does not wear off in three to five days, is the struggle to control the words we speak and the deeds we do. Which is just as important as giving up the physical. As the Prophet (saw) said: Narrarated by Abu Huraira:
Whoever does not give up false statements (ie.telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking badly then Allah is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink. (Bukhari)
That is the real test. People can be annoying under the best circumstances but on and empty stomach it’s even easier to lose control of your tongue and say something out of anger.
I have found the best remedy for both struggles is the rememberance of Allah. Keeping myself busy reading the Qur’an, doing dhikr, attending my online Islamic classes, and just generally using the time to reflect on my life and ways to improve myself. Fasting seems to bring even more clarity to self evaluations.
It’s difficult to explain but knowing that over 1 billion people are fasting along with me is also quite uplifting. I love the unity of it. In some parts of the world now, people are just beginning their fast. Perhaps someone is reading this while partaking of suhoor. Somewhere else others are breaking their fast, perhaps organizing an iftar for the local muslims or sitting down for a meal with their family. Then, there are people like me in the middle of fasting, closing in on time for iftar, trying to get as much benefit as possible and not think about the hunger. 😀 We are all in various stages of our fasting but all united in our goal. It’s truly beautiful. A mercy from Allah.