With food such a huge part of American culture, this is not an easy place to observe Ramadan.
As one of more than three million Muslims in the United States, I’m fasting from eating, drinking, and worldly pleasures between sunrise and sunset all month.
But my regular life doesn’t stop during Ramadan. I still have class, theater rehearsal, and work. To conserve my energy, I talk less and stay indoors as much as possible.
Occasionally I ask myself, “Why am I doing this?”
Five years into the practice, I think I know: I live in a society where everyone is indulging. Ramadan is an eye opener, not a calorie burner. Its true purpose is to purify the heart and erase hatred and desires that lead to negative energy. As I observe Ramadan, my selfishness and materialism decrease alongside my calorie count. I feel the hardships of those less fortunate while knowing I can experience the joys of life after sunset.
We’re meant to be patient and disciplined not just during the fast, but also after it’s over. That’s a life lesson that I can stand by even after I am free to eat and drink whenever I please.