Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Letters from Egypt: Fasting Ain’t Easy

Camels dig going for a nice drive down the Ring Road

And yes, I did use the word “ain’t”.

I always said that I practically fasted many days anyway because when I’m really busy at work, I don’t have time to eat; however, I’m finding that my Ramadan experiment is harder simply because you want what you can’t have.

I have been skipping sa7our (last meal before fasting begins) because quite frankly I just can’t be bothered to wake up again at 2:45 am just to eat. So the last time I eat is around 11 pm, and when you break your fast, you find that you can’t eat that much anyway. It’s like a race to see how much food I can take in, but there’s not enough time with a shrinking stomach.

Then I began facing another dilemma: work productivity. I previously thought it was because everyone stayed up all night, but there’s another side. Not like everyone skips sa7our, but since I am, I’ve been trying to maintain energy while doing without any sort of food/drinks from 11pm-7pm the next day – and that includes going to the gym in the mornings (well, most mornings – don’t want to be too ambitious with my story). By 1:30 pm, I’m D-Y-I-N-G. I can’t concentrate. I’m pretty sure that Sunday, I fell asleep while typing an email at work. Don’t tell my boss ;)

I had to “modify” my fasting for yesterday and today simply to churn out some work with deadlines rapidly approaching. I limited myself to one coffee (which includes three shots of espresso) and cigarettes, but I gave myself the stipulation that it would only be for Monday and Tuesday with the possibility of extending it to Wednesday just so I could complete these tasks. Okay, so it’s not the correct way to do things but I can’t afford for my job to suffer for an experiment. Well, this limitation has certainly pushed me to try to get everything done in these past two days which may indicate more productivity in two days than I’ve had in awhile. PS I also take a small bottle of water in my extreme workout classes.

Everyone is asking how fasting is going. First of all, for those of you who don’t know, let me give you the three reasons why women are allowed to break their fast:

  • Pregnancy
  • Breast feeding
  • Menstruation

If you break for those reasons, you are supposed to make it up at some point after you have completed.

Now that I’ve covered all of that, I will admit that I broke my fast on Friday. While you aren’t supposed to consume alcoholic beverages, I had a going away party on Thursday and well, you just can’t fast with a hangover. I picked right back up on Saturday and found that after I ran all my errands and had absolutely nothing to do, I just laid on my couch and stared at the ceiling waiting for 7 pm to roll around. I know what you’re thinking – why not read or watch a movie?

Well, I’ve come to realize that I just can’t concentrate and it’s pointless for me to even try. I feel so lethargic around that time that even walking my dog seems to be too daunting of a task.

I do want to bring up one point that really irks me. Someone said to me how they were surprised that a Coptic Christian was eating and drinking in the open, that it was just “audacious”. I asked that person why it was “audacious” because I believe that it is anyone’s right to eat and drink openly just as it was your choice to fast. While all of my friends have been extremely supportive of my fasting, I do not mind in the least if someone is smoking, drinking or eating around me. And for any of you believers, you should also know that you gain more points if you are around the temptation and still choose to keep fasting.

Fasting isn’t difficult for everyone. Some people do stay up all night so that they may sleep until iftar the next day. This is unfortunate and I wonder if it is even remotely deemed fasting since you don’t have to suffer at all. Another reason for fasting is endurance, but I’m pretty sure the prophet didn’t mean enduring all night festivities so that you could sleep all day. Besides, if you slept the day away, you are missing out on some great things like a random truck carrying camels down the Ring Road – who wants to miss that?


Total Days of the Month: 13

Fast Completely Broken: 4

Fast Partially Broken: 2


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