Ground Rules

Day 4




For the past four days my alarm clock goes off at 3 AM. This is so that I have enough time for suhoor. At 3:55 AM the fasting begins and I plan on putting as much protein and water into my body as possible. The next time I will eat or drink will be sixteen hours later, 7:55 PM.

Today was the second time I went to work and fasted. Still debating whether its easier to fast at home or go to work. On the one hand staying at home expends less energy and I don’t need to walk around in the sun. On the other hand I have less things to keep me busy. Work is full of the temptation of food. On top of that my co-workers go between admiration and cheerful mocking. I had to pass on the bagels, cream cheese and lox for breakfast and the brownies someone brought from home for afternoon snack. On the other hand, I had plenty of people to hold me accountable throughout the day.

Lots of people have asked me if the fasting has been hard. On the first day I had a headache in the evening. I believe this is a result of not enough water the night before. Hopefully this will not repeat itself, thanks to my 1.5 litres of water I drink once for Iftar and again for Suhoor. Having people at work around me all the time reminds me of my commitment, even if they are not taking part in it.

Despite some worries I had, and some borderline language earlier in this post, people at work have been very supportive. They may have raised an eyebrow at my choice, but they are mostly curious. On the way to lunch today we had a long discussion on what is and isn't allowed during Ramadan. Thanks to a new friend I made online during this project I have a list of actions and whether they are allowed. I'm not sure what the source of this information is, but it aligns with the religious rulings that I have read.

Here is a short list of things that do not break the fast: ear drops, asthma inhaler, oxygen pump, penicillin or insulin injections, painkiller injection for teeth filling, using perfume or smelling perfume, putting on makeup, vomiting on purpose, blood tests, swimming and brushing your teeth. Also taking nose drops or putting on chapstick, both on the condition that neither is swallowed or goes to the stomach. Among the things that do break the fast are inhaling the smoke of the Bakhoor and using nicotine stickers. According to Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, a modern prominent Sunni Islamic scholar, tasting food and not swallowing it, does not constitute breaking the fast.