US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Ramadan: Now that's a fast

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Muslims begin what has to be the most observed and most rigorous communal religious event in the world, as at least the adult members of the world's 1.2 billion followers of Islam will be fasting from dawn to dusk. For the next several years, Ramadan is going to be exceptionally difficult because it will fall in the longer, hotter summer days. (Islam's lunar calendar is shorter than the solar one, so the beginning of Ramadan moves every year.)

I was in Jordan during Ramadan several years ago and can testify to the sense of communal support for and commitment to the daily fast--along with the nightly festivities (and traffic jams) that come with sunset. I've never tried the fast myself--no food or water even for 14 hours has about as much appeal to me as a marathon--but Catholic friends of mine do, and it has given them a greater understanding and appreciation of Islam.

Perhaps joining Muslims for a day or two of fasting as a common prayer for greater peace and understanding wouldn't be a bad idea.