Probably everybody who fasts Ramadan, whether or not they practice other aspects of Islam and to what degree, feels that this act of worship has a unique emotional and psychological effect. It has a presence that is unlike any other. It is heavy but light, difficult yet easy, very long but at the same time too short. One may feel at times tired and even weak toward the end of the month, but there is a feeling of sadness when it is finished. Its end always leaves me with a sense of a missed opportunity. I do not quite know what it is, but there is a sense of losing something. It is not clear whether next Ramadan, if it comes, will bring that opportunity back, or whether it will present a different one.
Ramadan imposes a lot of change on one’s life. To go for half a day or three quarters of it without eating and drinking means that you have to change how you usually live. Ramadan brings its own version of one’s life with it. One lives one way for eleven months, and then another in this one month.
One of the beautiful aspects of Ramadan is that it comes to us rather than we have to go to it. We just cannot escape it, and this powerlessness toward Ramadan is poetic, gratifying, and enjoyable.