In my continuing efforts to make friends and to champion for world peace...
Osman: Eh! Tak puasa ke?
Me: Well, I am glad you asked. As a Christian, I have the option to fast during Lent. Lent is the forty-day period lasting from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday. (sometime in March) However, in the Catholic Church, Lent does not end on Holy Saturday, but rather, on Maundy Thursday. The forty days represents, according to the bible, the time Jesus spent in the desert, enduring the temptation of Satan.
I say "option to fast" because during Lent, Christians are given the option to give up something that is important to them personally. Fasting is one way to do it. And this is for Christians to be reminded of the time Jesus spent in the desert. The temptations. The suffering. Very biblical stuff. (Personally, I gave up coffee and meat.... OK. Coffee and meat but fish is OK. OK. Coffee and meat on Fridays only. But fish is OK. And cannot say bad words.)
Similarly, during Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam as well as refraining from lying, stealing, anger, envy, greed, lust, sarcastic retorts, backbiting, and gossip. Obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are to be avoided; sexual activities during fasting hours are also forbidden. [Qur'an 2:187] Purity of both thought and action is important.
The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm. It also allows Muslims to practise self-discipline, sacrifice, and sympathy for those who are less fortunate, intended to make Muslims more generous and charitable.
For instance, if I said to you that by asking me this question in the first place, you have proven to be an inward-looking culturally-insensitive ignoramus who thinks the whole world revolves around one religion and culture, you should exercise grace and accept my comments with a smile. Remember, peace and calm. Refrain from anger. May the peace of God be with you.
Finally, as with the Christian faith, this season is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which one seek a raised level of closeness to God.
So, read any good books lately?