I come from the country with the most Muslim population in the world. But since the end of last year I’ve been living in another side of the world, where another belief is majorly practiced. This is not my first time fasting outside my home country, but this is indeed the first time doing it in another country for a full month. Fasting here, in Italy, is completely different.
This year, Ramadhan falls on summer. The sun “never” sets! At home we fast for about 13 hours. Here, about 17 hours. It’s a burning summer with scorching sun outside, which assures me to stay inside rather than going out. I can only have the family gather-round sahoor in mind and enjoy the amenity of breaks most of the times alone, instead of with friends competing for a free restaurant table. Here, fasting is a unique experience, unlike in my country where almost everyone do it.
This year, Ramadhan is far away from home. And I’m not even sure where I’ll be enjoying the festive Ied. Nonetheless, I do feel the enjoyment and grace of the Holy Month. My allegiance has brought me to a different reminiscence, on how I can cope with fasting in a new condition. Changes that are happening in my life have brought me greater level of admiration for the month’s Holiness, and for the great might of Allah. I respect Muslim communities in this side of the world who might have to do such a long fast, under tough conditions, every year. People from different culture around me with various inquiries, comments, and respect on what I do and why I choose to do it, has given me a beautiful sense of gratitude. I even wrote a post on my blog on why we fast.
As a born-Muslimah, I’ve been fasting every year since childhood. But this year, Ramadhan is something new. It has brought me to a new level of Islamism, seen with a broader sense and felt with a deeper wisdom. I am thankful for this year’s Ramadhan, and for the tiny speck of God’s strength He has given me.