Faith issues - Fasting

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                                        Faith issues - Fasting
                                     > Fasting is common to most religious traditions and this
                                       guide aims to provide an overview of the topic and also
                                       practical suggestions for staff working with students who
                                       are fasting. This external site gives a useful summary,
                                       though we are not responsible for its content

    When do people fast?
                                        > Fasting normally takes place during daylight hours at significant
                                          times of the year set aside for fasting. For example in Islam this is
                                          during Ramadan, for Christians this is often Ash Wednesday and
                                          Good Friday, though some Christians will fast throughout Lent.
                                        > These periods of fasting often precede feasts and festivals.
                                        > Fasts may also take place at other times either in response to
                                          particular events (e.g. as a sign of contrition due to some wrong
                                          action or to mourn a significant tragedy) or in an attempt to deepen
                                          spiritual experience.

    What does fasting
                                        > Abstaining from food during the fasting period (In Islam this is during
                                          Daylight Hours in Ramadan).
                                        > Some fasts also involve abstinence from drinking (including water),
                                          smoking, sexual activity and from activities that are seen as harmful
                                          to psychological, physical, emotional or social health.
                                        > Fasting is also often accompanied by charitable and social action- it
                                          is not just about denying self but giving to and caring for others.

    Why do people fast?
                                        > Fasting is counter cultural in what is often described as a
                                          materialistic, consumerist age. As a result of this it is often seen
                                          quite negatively- why should people choose to deny themselves their
                                          basic needs?
                                        > Fasting has several purposes.
                                          - deepen spiritual awareness and centredness on God.
                                          - deepen empathy with those who suffer and the poor
                                          - express regret for wrong actions or intentions
                                          - improve self control

     What effects might
    fasting have on study?
                                        > Fasting may affect
                                          - Energy levels,
                                          - Concentration
                                          - Alertness
                                          - Mood
Supporting   Faith issues- fasting              Jonnie Parkin                                                       1
your                                             De Montfort University 2007
                                            > In extreme cases this can become hazardous to health and the fast
                                              should be postponed to a time when it can be completed safely

     How can staff support
    students who are
                                            > Fasting can be difficult. It is important that people who are fasting
                                              feel that other people can accept and value their fast.
                                            > Do not put pressure on students or colleagues to either keep or
                                              break the fast- they should decide how they express their faith.
                                            > Be aware that in some traditions fasting ends at dusk. Students and
                                              colleagues should normally be given a break time to do this.
                                            > Do not tease people who are fasting.
                                            > Be aware that concentration may diminish during the fast.
                                            > If you feel that some one’s health is at risk due to their fasting, raise
                                              this with them. In Islam for example, people who are unwell,
                                              travelling, very young, very old, pregnant or menstruating are not
                                              required to fast.

    Useful Contacts
                                            > Leicester Chaplaincy
                                              Second Floor, Campus Centre
                                              Telephone (0116) 250 6389

                                        > Further information:

    Web sites
    These sites are external to DMU and
    we cannot accept responsibility for
    their content. If anything in them is
    misleading or offensive please
    contact us
                                            > General

                                            > Health and Fasting (specifically in relation to Islam but transferable)

    Other related Focus
    On titles
                                            > Conducting a Successful One-to-one Meeting
                                            > Difficult One-to-one Meetings

Supporting    Faith issues- fasting                 Jonnie Parkin                                                         2
your                                                 De Montfort University 2007

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Description: Faith issues - Fasting