Ready, Set, Ramadan: A Beginner's Guide to Fasting
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Ready, Set, Ramadan: What You Need to Know About Fasting

Ready Set Ramadan What You Need to Know About Fasting

Muslims worldwide are all preparing to embark on a sacred journey — a month of fasting, reflection, and spiritual renewal known as Ramadan. For first-timers joining this profound tradition, fasting from dawn till dusk may seem daunting. But fear not, for within the embrace of Ramadan lies a transformative experience waiting to unfold. Let's navigate this spiritual voyage together and discover the essence of fasting during this holiest of months.

Embracing the Spirit of Ramadan

Ramadan isn't merely about abstaining from food and drink; it's a time of profound introspection, heightened devotion, and communal unity. At its core, fasting during Ramadan serves as a means of purifying the soul, strengthening one's connection with the Divine, and fostering empathy for those less fortunate.

man praying to God in the Sultan Ahmet Mosque

Understanding the Fasting Ritual

The fast begins each day at dawn with Suhoor, a pre-dawn meal before the Fajr prayer. It's essential to start the day with a nutritious and sustaining meal to provide energy throughout the day's fast. As the sun rises, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and engaging in negative behaviour until the Maghrib prayer at sunset marks the end of the fast.

Navigating the Daytime Fast

For first-time fasters, the daytime hours of Ramadan may present both physical and mental challenges. Hunger pangs, thirst, and fatigue are common companions on this journey. However, it's essential to remember that these trials remind us of our dependence on sustenance and our capacity for self-discipline.

Breaking the Fast: Iftar

The call to prayer marks the much-anticipated Iftar — the breaking of the fast or berbuka puasa as the sun sets. This usually entails extravagant spreads of food and beverages, when people invite their friends and family to socialize while indulging in their delectable feasts. Since the moment of sunset determines when to break fast, you will discover that many restaurants, public transportation, and roadways are packed with people making their way home to enjoy iftar with their loved ones.

Muslims usually break their fast with a few sips of their drink and a few prayers, followed by a feast to commemorate the conclusion of their 24-hour fast.

Top Dietary Tips for Managing Food Intake and Energy Levels

Remember to...

  • Eat food items that are high in fibre and complex carbohydrates such as basmati rice, whole wheat cereals, and overnight oats
  • Eat healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and good oils
  • Eat protein such as eggs, lean meat, lentils, legumes, milk, and yoghurt
  • Eat vegetables and fruits that have high water content such as watermelon, cucumber, and pineapple

The food items to minimise during fasting are...

  • Caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee, which can contribute to dehydration
  • Food items that are high in sodium, as these increase thirst
  • High levels of sugary foods which cause a sudden spike in blood sugar followed by a low-energy slump
ramadan dates jars

When it's time to break your fast at the end of the day, start with simple foods that are easier for the body to process rather than a big, heavy meal that would strain the digestive system. Water, dates, and light food items high in water content, such as pudding, jelly, and fruits, are good choices. You may also try porridge or bubur lambuk.

As you embark on your first Ramadan fast, remember that this sacred month is not just a physical journey but a profound spiritual odyssey. Embrace the challenges, cherish the blessings, and allow the transformative power of fasting to illuminate your path toward greater closeness to the Divine and inner peace. Ramadan Mubarak!

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