I work with a lot of medical colleagues who are Muslim. They are great guys, great doctors, and good friends to me. I am glad they have recently seen the end of Ramadan because their tempers have been thus returned to normal for another year.
For them, Ramadan means a total fast from food and water between sunrise and sunset for one complete lunar month. That’s hard, by any standard of fasting! Catholics also fast and abstain, but on a weekly basis. Every Friday, and for some every Wednesday, they should not eat meat and should reduce their food intake to one-and-a-half meals a day instead of three. Over a year, and every year, this amounts to 52-104 days of fasting, which is not inconsiderable. Ramadan only lasts 29 days in comparison!
Of course, some people are excepted from fasting: The very young, the very old, the unwell. Something I learned this year is that Muslims who live above a certain latitude are spared from Ramadan should it occur in the Summer when the daylight is too long. I used to live in the North of Scotland when the Sun set at 2am and rose again at 3am. That was just not enough time for any soul to get all their fluids and vittles onboard for the next 23 hours, was it!
The forty day continuous fast undertaken by Jesus was a superhuman feat. None of us is either capable or expected to do such a thing. My medical knowledge informs me that nobody can survive more than three days without water, and none can survive more than three weeks without sustenance (approximate figures, of course).
Fasting, rightly done, is actually very good for us, as is all asceticism as long as it isn’t done to win the “Ascetic of the Universe” award!
(please forgive my poor sense of humour….)