Muslims in India will fast for over 15 hours, the longest in 36 years, during the holy month of Ramadan amid hot and humid weather conditions.
The average duration of the fast will be from around 3:30am till 7pm this year.
“Faith and willpower is something that keeps rozedars going despite harsh weather conditions. I was in Mecca during Ramzan in 2011 and 2013 and saw over 10 lakh people fasting in the scorching heat when temperatures were around 48 degrees,” Aqil Ahmad, a retired Lucknow University professor, said.
Despite the hot weather, the young generation is looking forward to the dawn-to-dusk abstinence from water and food. Their demanding jobs and hectic schedules are no deterrents and they aren’t looking for any excuses either during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar that lasts for 29 or 30 days.
“Verses and rules and regulations in Quran are not just writings but have a strong logic and sense instilled in them. Apart from religious reasons, fasting keeps me healthy and has also taught me self-control,” Amaan, a 30-year-old software engineer, said.
Ali Raha, who has been fasting since he was 14 years old, said he found logic in fasting during Ramzan by reading about Islam.
“Biologically, it helps our internal system, gives the pancreas rest and improves digestion. The initial days are tough every year, but then the body gets used to the grind,” the young businessman said.
Sobia Alam, 30, a fitness freak for whom attending gym sessions during the holy month is equally significant as observing fasts. She said Ramzan is not about giving up the routine but a tweaking her schedule a little to do her religious duties.
“I can’t skip my workout schedule, nor do I want to miss the fasts. I will work out early morning or after breaking fasts and night prayers,” Alam said.
Gym instructors suggest that a controlled workout could lead to added energy during fasts.
“Rozedars should abstain from doing asanas that include forceful breathing like kapalbhati and bhastrika. But they can do breathing and stretching exercises early morning or after iftar,” yoga teacher Mohit Singh said.
He also said eating lots of fruits, including watermelons, muskmelons, cucumbers etc during sehri, the meal just before dawn, to keep the body hydrated throughout the day.