“Water, water, everywhere; Nor any drop to drink.”
My favourite line from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner expresses the same obsessive thought which took over my mind during my first Ramadan. The suffering mariner goes through the torment of being parched and being surrounded by seawater which is undrinkable. This parallels the experience of Muslims during Ramadan who not only see water everywhere but also wash their mouths with water during wudhu (the ritual washing before daily prayers) without being able to swallow it!
Paradoxically though, I soon realized that my main problem is actually too much water. Throughout the year, I have a tendency to live off coffee and tea, and I often forget to drink water. As Ramadan makes you critically aware of every single water droplet within a two metre radius, you’ll probably end up drinking double the quantity of water during this month because it’s been on your mind all day.
If you drink too much water in one go, you’ll end up with a bulbous water belly that gurgles ominously as you plod about the house. As you’ve probably got an empty stomach in the morning, if you drink too much, it’ll feel like water sloshing about in a boat on the high sea. Your tummy may even continue to wobble long after you’re stopped moving. This phenomenon always reminds me Dr Hibbert in The Simpsons trying to measure Homer Simpson’s tummy wobble and is amazed to find it never stops.
So to combat wobble-belly woes, I recommend you don’t drink on an empty stomach. The feeling of water being poured into a hollow stomach isn’t particularly comfortable. Instead, have a nibble of bread, crackers, or something fibrous beforehand to soak it all up. Problem sorted!
Ah, but you’re not out of danger yet! The same risk comes right back around the following morning. If you’re anything like me, you’ll see the time marching towards Fajr (the first daily prayer) and panic that you haven’t drunk enough. In this state of paranoia you may fall into the trap of overdosing on water and spend the whole morning regretting it as you wobble about like a human weeble.
Clearly cramming isn’t the answer, so you could aim to wake up an hour before prayer so that you have plenty of time to sip water during suhoor (the meal before fasting begins). You could also set out the water in glasses beforehand so you can see evidence that you’ve drunk enough and nip any paranoia in the bud. Afterwards, you can either stay awake or go back to bed feeling nicely saturated rather than feeling like you’ve turned into a water bed yourself!
If you’re craving a morning coffee and you just can’t resist, drink an extra glass of water afterwards to make up for it. If you’ve given up caffeine for Ramadan though, I’d advise you scroll down quickly with your eyes closed so that you’re not tempted by the Ramadan coffee art below!
As I was writing this post, I became all too aware that I had the power to fix all three problems if I wanted to. In the case of too little water, I’m fortunate enough to have access to clean running water at all times, all I have to do is turn on the tap or tiptoe over the the water cooler at work. As far as drinking too much water is concerned, that’s just me being overindulgent and going overboard in the face of slight dehydration.
And last but not least, my cold turkey coffee withdrawal headaches only exist because I've allowed myself to become reliant on caffeine rather than pure water. Others less fortunate than myself don’t have this choice. Perhaps they live in a situation with too little water or live with an abundance of water which is undrinkable or will make them sick. Then I think back to the times when I've often uttered the words, 'have you got anything more interesting than water?' and it makes me cringe.
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I happened to come across a hadith today where the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “The best charity is giving water to drink” (Ahmad). This made me reflect on the value of giving zakat money to water-based projects such as Islamic Relief’s Water solutions, The Salvation Army's Watershed initiative, and innovations such as Life Straw which renders even the murkiest water into drinkable water.
There's also an incredibly exciting initiative called Water For All which is being promoted by Nye Armstrong and Rebecca Minor to fund the building of a well to help a whole community in a sustainable way. Their aim is to raise 10,000 dollars during the next 30 days and InshAllah with our help they'll be able to achieve this goal.
So, over to you!
How do you cope with the challenges of too little or too much water?
How do go about donating Zakat money during Ramadan?
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Link of the Day
This thought comes from Najeeba Syeed-Miller, a professor at the Claremont School of Theology who can find here at: Najeeba.com. Not only do I love her blog but I also enjoy reading her thoughts, encouraging words and heart warming tweets about parenting.
Today's link of the day is Najeeba's video: View on Forgiveness where she explores Forgiveness from a Muslim perspective, why it is important and how we can practice forgiveness and have the humility to ask for it.