I was wondering how your fasting went. I am glad that you posted your experiences.
My fasting entailed the following:
I had breakfast and prayed (not Islamically) before sunrise, and I broke the fast with our family meal in the evening (around 6 PM, so an hour or two before the actual sunset)
During that time I fasted pretty much the same way Muslims do – no food or drink consumed.
That is approximately the same for me from about 5:40 AM to 7:30 PM.
The first three days were terrible!
On the first day my mind became so occupied with FOOD that even sweets wrappers or discarded food in the bin started to look tempting! +o(
By the third day my concentration and energy was so low, that I did not think I would be able to continue …
… but luckily by day four my body had adjusted, and it became much more manageable.
Not to be critical, but it is interesting that it was this difficult for you from just missing the noon meal. The main difficulty for me was more in not being able to drink water, but perhaps I have more energy "reserves" than you do.
I continued for twenty days, but which time I suddenly felt that I was not fasting for the right reasons any longer, so I stopped fasting then – I felt that if I was fasting to impress my Muslim friends rather than to please God, then my intentions were wrong anyway, and there was no point continuing …
You are exactly right that the intention determines the merit of the deed. Whether your intention as a non-Muslim in fasting was to have a similar physiological experience as a fasting Muslim due to a sense of brother/sisterhood, to "try Islam on" for how well it suits you (like a new pair of pants), or to seek spiritual guidance from God for some personal dilemma, I am hopeful that Allah fulfilled your intention.
I am intrigued when a Christian tells me that he has prayed or fasted along with Muslims. For these actions to have merit before Allah, the intention must be to worship Allah in the manner exemplified by Prophet Muhammad (saaws). If I as a Muslim would kneel before my bed at night with my hands raised in front of my face palmside together and pray to God in thanksgiving for the daily blessings and asking for certain needs, would I be praying according to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (saaws)? No, of course not. Prayer in Christianity approximates the du'a in Islam, but I don't know that salah in Islam has any equivalent in Christianity. Perhaps there is some ritualized prayer in Catholicism, but I don't think that it was instigated by Prophet Jesus (as). In Islam there is no salah without recitation of al-Fatiha or following the example of Prophet Muhammad (saaws).
The example of salah can also be applied to sawm or fasting. Our intention of fasting in Islam is none other than as an act of worship to our Creator. As with performing our 5 daily prayers, the fasting of Ramadan is an act of submission to the Will of Allah as exemplified by Prophet Muhammad (saaws). We begin the fast with a light meal and drink before the crack of dawn (~1 hour before sunrise), we abstain from food, drink, and marital relations during the daylight hours, we break our fast immediately after sunset with 3 dates and water, and we say extra salah at night (taraweeh) and read more Qur'an - all according to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (saaws).
I must say that fasting has be a very profound and spiritual experience for me.
Although I fast pretty regularly as part of my Christian faith, I have never done it for such a length of time.
Can you describe your regular fasting? What does fasting in Christianity entail? Is it along the lines of Prophet Jesus (as) in the wilderness Mark 4:2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they had ended, he became hungry. or does it mean not eating meat on Fridays before Easter? Does it mean something else?
As a Baptist, I had no concept of the word fasting, but then in college I periodically abstained from food (drank plenty of water) for up to 3 days and nights seeking God's guidance. I indeed felt that reading the Bible meant more to me during those times.
The two main things which I noticed the most were that
1. I had an increased awareness of how many of God’s blessings we take for granted in life, without even thinking to thank him for. Going hungry for so long every day was a great reminder of that!
2. I really felt very much in touch with God. He certainly pricked my conscience with regards to several issues in my own life – which I am trying very hard to address as we speak.
So overall it was a great thing to do.
Those are excellent results. May Allah grant you guidance to and along the Straight Way that leads to Eternal Life.
Although I may not have fasted Islamically in the true sense of the word, I would certainly consider fasting again.
Allah willing, next time as a Muslimah.:)