I am a simple human trying to figure out the truth in this life. I encourage any opinions, as long as they're stated in a respectful manner. I want to learn :)
How do you explain Ramadan to someone who has a negative impression of it to begin with (as well as a negative impression of Islam and Muslims overall)?
Well, fasting is a valued spiritual experience in most major religions, so all a person need do is examine why they fast and just increase the intensity. If they are atheistic or not spiritual at all, I would say just explain to them that there are many medical benefits, and if they still give you crap, tell them it's something you enjoy and leave it at that.
Without being atheistic (though she might be, who knows), she does not appreciate religion - same as most people here. She's very small and has trouble with weight. She makes lots of efforts to gain weight so for her - she probably wouldn't fast for medical reasons even if she were Muslim and willing and I guess it makes it even harder to imagine benefits. She did compare it to Christian fasting too but was udner the impression that Christians fast an even more "extreme" fast than Muslims... Like it's harder to fast the Christian way, but as far as I know, they abstain from one thing at a time and never have periods where they abstain from all food and drink. Either she is out of it or I am on that one though - neither of us is very educated in Catholicism.
I tend to explain it exactly as I understand it, as most people ask because they want to understand (not intending to argue). The month of Ramadan, with its sun up to sun down fast, is meant to be time for me to be thankful for the blessing I have received as well as focus on modesty, piety, charity and sacrifice. My fast is meant to teach me many things, one being how it feels to the starving so that I might have more understanding and be more charitable in caring for the less fortunate. It is meant to teach me control so that I become more aware of my actions, desires, needs and wants. And also to teach me to reach out to my god for assistance when I feel weak. A note on Christian fasts: There are MANY different kinds of fasts in Christianity ranging from meatless fasts (like during Lent), and "green leafy" fasting(meaning you only eat green leafy salads for several days). Just to name a couple. The various types of fasts are meant to model different advice from the apostles as well as the prophets. Each one has a different goal and result in mind. Some fasts can be VERY difficult (going three days with only water). And I know many Christians who impose their own fasts often not eating or drinking anything for a predetermined period of time. I am not very aware of different forms of fasting in Islam, but I do know that fasting is recommended at all times during the year (only REQUIRED during Ramadan). You always get my mind humming! Thanks!
Stephi: I think my co-worker was intending to argue... She's a bit anti-religion, and even anti-immigrants (calls them "races"). She's not a bad person and she has not researched anything... It's all based on her upbringing I guess.I loved the way you described it though. I think if I was able to tell her this in such a beautiful way, I'd be able to make some progress with her.
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