Elastic Limits of Human Performance
Ramadan to the majority of Muslims has become a cultural celebration more than a spiritual retreat or a transcendent recharge. Family gatherings, social visitations, and of course huge feasts with sought-after delicious dishes that create lovely vibes and sweet memories, yet, miss the essence of what this month is all about.
This Ramadan will certainly be etched in memory as a very unique experience. With travel and gathering restrictions, the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of each and every one of us. The confirmed continuation of this impact into the month of Ramadan, will ultimately mean that the more sought after traditional practices will not exist this year.
The essence of this blessed month is clearly defined in the Quran as achieving piety and redefining our awareness of the creator. It should therefore be undertaken as a month of intensive training; or the much needed skills development programme; or the annual performance review; or simply the opportunity to brush away the rust from our habits and relationships with our Lord, and his creation; or rather all of the above and more.
Ramadan is truly a blessed month, yet it’s not an easy walk in the park, it is hard work and dedication that pays off both in this world as it will in the hereafter. With the special circumstances of this year, this struggle will not become any easier, the weighing mental challenges of social distancing will without a shadow of a doubt disrupt everyone’s efforts throughout this month. This is one way to perceive the situation we are in, and it might be the majority of people’s opinions out there.
In the sporting world when athletes prepare for major competitions, they remove themselves from their normal environment and routines to seclude themselves in a training camp; this camp is almost always thoroughly planned with a strict diet, regimented schedule of fitness building exercises, as well as technical skills that are repeatedly honed and ingrained in the muscle memory to become seamlessly complex combinations that enable the athlete to break through their once physical body limitations and achieve greatness.
For the athlete, pushing their body through pain, achieves a stronger mind, and a more resilient body that resists its protective programming and inclination to stop. All of us are capable of far more than we think. Training the body also trains the mind to prepare for greater feats of endurance, and this is no different when it comes to Ramadan and fasting.
With that in mind, this coming Ramadan will hopefully be the life transformative training camp. The experience that we can all refer back to in the future and remind ourselves that we were able to do it, and it wasn’t just holding food and drink from sunrise to sunset, but it was more importantly all the spiritual activities that we were able to achieving while enduring both the physical and the mental challenges that came and ended with the end of Ramadan.
Bilal Naas is the former head of MABY’s HR and Branch development department. By profession he’s an accountant, HR and office manager. He enjoys travelling and exploring new places.