I quite have to confess it. I have started craving for normal sleep patterns. A cup of coffee while working in the afternoon. A few things to munch on while catching up with friends over lunch. Yes, I know, today is the 26th. And the last day of fasting is most likely going to be on the 29th.
A few days more.
I’m just holding up because I’m stubborn like that…
In Islam, the last 10 days of Ramadan bear a special meaning. It is said that, in one of those 10 nights, Allah will send on Earth as many angels as there are grains of sand. The catch is, you don’t know which night it is supposed to be.
Mosques fill up at nights, people gather in prayers & contemplation, some hurry to finish reading the Qur’an, and most find energy for this last push of fasting.
Not being a Muslim, I don’t have anything to hold on for those last days of Ramadan. Lying in my bed, last night, I was wondering how convenient it was that this “special night” is unknown and that you have to do make special efforts for, really, 1/3 of the month. Some ways to give spirit for the whole end of it, and not just for one night, to keep people going through the difficulties of nearing a month of a body in “starvation mode”. It’s clever, in a way.
So, yes, I rely on my stubbornness. I’m really a girl from Brittany for this matter. Once decided, don’t think about it twice if it’s going to make you waver.
So what’s up with my fasting? Well, I had decided at the very beginning that I would fast the whole 29 days. Traveling to Singapore & not sleeping straight for 2 nights? Takpe. Women’s non-fasting days? Takpe. Feeling sick? Takpe la. I fasted through the last 26 days, and I’m quite happy with this :)
I am still able to go running (20 minutes), to climb up the stairs instead of taking the lift, to work even more than usual (start early morning, gives you a productive spirit for the rest of the day!), to -basically- almost run a normal life.
I am mostly not hungry or thirsty during day time, it has become pretty much a second nature. I’m just battling with the mental pleasure of eating, not with the physical one. Like those who stop smoking & have overcome the nicotine dependence, I’m now struggling with the habit more than the need…
I read earlier that, during a period of fast, the body lowers the metabolism rate to accommodate the needs & to answer as required. It doesn’t mean you have less energy, you just use it more wisely & with a better pace.
(Caution: this means, your body will still have a lower metabolism rate during Raya: it will stock all this food & break it really slowly, as it doesn’t know you’re stopping fasting)
No, really, food & drinks? Easy game!
But I can get my sleep back?
I’m so tired of being tired… There is so much to do at night, so many conversations to have around cups of tea, so many friends to catch up with. You just can’t go to bed before midnight. Or you could, but then you have to be ready to miss your social life for one month, as you don’t really meet people during day time (what for?). I was not ready for this, had not mentally prepared myself for it.
I needed the people, the social activities, the conversations.
I kept on going out at night.
As a result, I’m sleeping around 1 to 2am, 2 hours later than usual, and wake up at 5.30am (3-4 hours early :p). That makes my nights shorter by 5 to 6 hours. I can’t obviously take naps of that length during day time, I only sleep 1 to 3 hours.
As a result, I dropped from a continuous 8-9 hours to an interrupted 4-6 hours.
Trust me. Really not cool.
Those last 2 days, I consciously missed sahur and have been eating only once per day as a consequence. The idea is, being hungry lasts about 30min, and comes & goes. When you’re tired, you’re tired all day long. Better catch up on sleep & eat less. I’m still drinking as much :)
But, yes, only 3.5 days to go!
On Monday night, throughout the country & all over the world, people will be waiting for the sighting of the new moon. This is what marks the beginning of Syawal, the next muslim month, and so the end of Ramadan.
Traditionally, you really had to wait until the very last night to know when Ramadan would end. Nowadays, technologies make it more precise & almost everyone expects Monday to be the last day of fasting.
I could imagine my face on Monday night if someone told me, “Oh, no moon, we have to fast another day!”. Wait, what?
Hopefully, technology is reliable enough :)
The Syawal moon on September 10th, last year, taken in Islamabad. Credits: Asif Mahmood.
On the other sides of Ramadan, I have been following up. But I could have done better… :)
As far as I remember, I tried not to lie, not to gossip and (more importantly because more difficult), not to talk bad about people behind their back. Not that I do it often ;) But, lately, I found myself complaining more than usual. I put it on the being-tired-and-all but, still, trying to get a grip on this.
Meditation-wise… one time, 10min. Damn… Definitely something to improve on!
Reading the Qur’an? I’m still in Surah 2, ayat 200+. Going slow… I don’t have the religious need to finish it before the end of Ramadan :)
Going to the mosque & reading/observing during Terawikh? About 5 times… I kind of know how to wrap the scarf around my hair now. It helps I’m always wearing one around my neck :)
Asking questions about Islam & fasting? Countless! Still trying to ask people how was their childhood fasting :) Wanna share in the comments? I feel I don’t have enough stories to draw the bigger picture of “children’s approach to puasa in Malaysia”.
Left to do: going back to Masjid Wilayah and taking pictures at night. By far the most beautiful mosque I’ve been in! Oh, well, Putrajaya is not far behind…
A Qur’an waiting for readers in Masjid Bukit Damansara
And for all those who are driving to “balik kampung”… Drive safe :)