Image 1 of 13: Eating & Drinking – This is the bottom line so if you’re not eating, you’re fasting, right? Well it is the essential ingredient and you shouldn’t let it slip your light-headed minds as your reach for a banana during Ramadan! But there is more to it then that, the fast goes beyond the belly hunger... Read on...
Image 1 of 13: Lying – Every one is partial to a fib now and again and although a white lie isn’t enough to condemn you to the depths of hell, during Ramadan it is enough to mean you break your fast.
Image 1 of 13: Judging others – You might think that you're being a good Muslim by playing detective and asking everyone if they’re fasting but you're at risk of subconsciously judging them before they've even answered the Q! So faithful fasters, leave the judgement out - your fast is purer for it. If only looks could kill, all non-fasters would be dead!
Image 1 of 13: Sex – Yes, sex is natural between married couples, but if you’re thinking of getting jiggy with your wife while fasting, you better hold those urges back until sunset time. Come on, a few hours without ‘sexy time’ won't kill you!
Image 1 of 13: Not praying – Uh huh! Praying is considered one of the most important pillars of Islam, so 'no pray, no fast' we're afraid!
Image 1 of 13: Flirting - Refraining from bedroom temptations isn’t enough - strictly no flirting during Ramadan! No lingering looks, no slipped phone numbers and no suggestive body language if you want to hold your fast! Also, no letching, boys!
Image 1 of 13: ‘I’m only sleeping’! The Beatles may have sung it but there’s no room for Ramadan in bed! You need to be awake to actually live the experience of fasting so as to feel with the poor... It's ok to nap for an hour or two, no dozing from dawn till dusk!
Image 1 of 13: Showing off – Posers need not apply! The fast loses its ‘bite’ if you go on about it. This is definitely a case of more points for modesty, carrying on as normal and less grumbling - all of which make that fast count more!
Image 1 of 13: Gossip girls – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”...your Mum got it right! All you gossip queens have to keep your comments to yourself during Ramadan as talking about someone behind their back will also render your fast broken.
Image 1 of 13: Temper, temper– Fasting is about controlling your temper and being calm and respectful towards others. So be nice, forget bad words even if you’re tested by traffic and bad moods, and that will make your fast go further. Road rage at Ramadan is not cool!
Image 1 of 13: A spot of D.I.Y anybody? Pleasuring oneself is off limits– Keep your hands where we can see them! No below-the-belt action during sunlight please, ladies and gents, even if it’s all solo!
Image 1 of 13: Smoking ban - Even though it’s not a food, ciggies are haram during sunlight hours in Ramadan. But fear not - if you smoke like a chimney, you can always slap on a nicotine patch, which have been approved by the Abu Dhabi Awqaf as a ‘medicine’.
Image 1 of 13: Toning it down and dressing conservatively - Although there’s no need to be decked out in a burqa during the holy month, you are supposed to dress more conservatively than usual. No mini-skirts ladies, and make sure you keep your melons under wraps until Eid!
Perhaps we're a tad late to start lecturing you on what's really involved in fasting. But hold your horses, as Ramadan isn't over just yet. It’s not over til the fat lady sings (or the hungry lady stuffs her face!)
We know you've been abstaining from food & drink this entire time, but what we don't know is whether you've been keeping yourself from doing all the other things that could disqualify you from fasting.
That's the beauty of this month; it will control all your urges whether they’re of the flesh, mind or soul, and you’ll come out feeling all the stronger for it. If you play your cards right, you can have a mental and physical detox in one lunar month.
For the Muslim faithful, this is the hardest month of the year because you truly have to test your patience on so many levels. Do you think you you’re good for it? Do you think you can cope with feeling grumpy from the lack of grazing and fluids, (that means no ciggies or caffeine, people) and on top of that hold your temper, keep calm and carry on, and not to mention not judging anyone, in addition to a whole long list of other qualifiers? That’s right, the whole nine yards.
We've become a culture of self-indulgent fast-fix impatient human beings. We're a culture that's obsessed with food; one that feels the need to show off our achievements and credentials yet not take a moment to think about those starving around us.
Gossiping and judging others has also become an integral part of our day to day. We do it so often, without realizing we’re going there. This special month seriously puts things into perspective. It gets you to challenge yourself into becoming a better person, by resisting all temptations. And yes fasters, it’s OK to see and smell food while fasting - more points when all’s said and done. Though the non-fasters should apply a certain degree of sensitivity and consideration and not waft their their Starbucks coffee around those offices.
So, if you thought Ramadan only meant waiting till after dusk to binge, think again. You may have been doing things that could jeopardize your holy month without realising that your fast had been long since broken!
We've set up the “So You Think You Can Fast” challenge to see how many of you will still think fasting is a piece of cake after reading about the many don’ts that can break your fast in the blink of an eye or a bite of baklawa.