Ramadan, Empathy and Childlike Curiosity

So last week Cayden asked me in the car on our way home from school if I would wake him up before sunrise the next morning. As we have entered the winter months and it is generally still dark before Cayden leaves for school I said sure and asked why he wanted to be woken.

He then starting to tell me all about his friend Sher-Ali who was starting to fast for Ramadan and that he would like to join him in fasting the next day. I said sure (even though I was quiet worried about my child (or actually more worried for his teacher) as Cayden normally eats many times a day and can become very grumpy when hungry)!
He talked a bit more about his friend and about what he had learnt about Ramadan from him.

I found this really interesting as I must admit I know very little about the Muslim month of fasting. I was amazed that in addition to not eating they don’t drink either between sunrise and sunset (I’m sure there are at least a few other people who did not know that)!
He said the main reason his friend said they fast is to imagine what it is like to be homeless and not know where your next meal comes from.

I thought that was a lovely and simple way to look at it!

I then researched Ramadan a bit more and found the following explanation:-
The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the soul by freeing it from harmful impurities. Ramadan also teaches Muslims how to better practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate; thus encouraging actions of generosity and compulsory charity.

So the next day Cayden woke up bright and early and made himself a large breakfast, which he consumed before sunrise. He then went off to school with a small
amount of food in his lunch box (for emergency purposes). When I fetched him at 14.30 I was secretly quiet amazed to hear from him that he had not eaten or drank anything at all
since breakfast. He then carried on his fasting until well after 4 that afternoon before caving and having an orange and some water.

He was quiet matter of fact about his experience, he said that it was easier than he thought it would be and made him think twice about how it feels to be homeless and go hungry!

Sometimes we get so overwhelmed and stuck in the detail and largeness of things we forget or overlook the simple goodness at the heart of things. Sometimes we just need a child to explain things to us from his view and with childlike curiosity try new things just for the sake of it.

Ramadan Mubarak to everyone fasting this month.


1 thought on “Ramadan, Empathy and Childlike Curiosity

  1. I also only very recently discovered that water was also not allowed during the fast, can’t imagine how hard that must be in the parts of the world where it is summer at this time of year. Respect! So impressive of Cayden to be experiencing the reality of all this for himself, not just intruiged but actually giving it a try.

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