Day one of Ramadan and I already feel like punching someone. Actually, scrap that, I can’t even muster enough energy to yawn.
Ramadan (also pronounced Ramzan) is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It's a spiritual time of the year for Muslims as the Qur’an was revealed in this month.
Consequently, reading the entire Qur’an is a goal for many by the end of the month, while eating, drinking, smoking and sexual activities are prohibited.
It is also a time when halitosis is prevalent but we’re told the breath of the observer of fast is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk. I hope my colleagues will remember that when I'm gassing them with my "Ramadan breath".
Every year I always have at least one smart-ass comment from someone saying: “Oh, your name is Iram RAMZAN, do you fast in the month of Ramzan ha ha ha”. They think it’s witty. Let me tell you, it’s not. After 100 times, it is no longer original either.
I have to remind my non-Muslim friends that we don’t fast for 30 consecutive days with nothing to eat at all (“Oh my God, 30 days? Won’t you die?!”), we’re just limited to eating when it’s dark. And you get used to it after a while. Ish.
I did have a compassionate friend offer to force food on me earlier, which would mean it wouldn’t be my fault if I’d consumed it. But is it still force-feeding if you’re asking for it? I'm not so sure.
Although I like not eating for 18 hours (yay!) it annoys me when I hear people saying things like “Oh, I wish Ramadan was every month”. No you don’t! Yes, it’s a blessed month, but I’m ready to bet that most people would prefer the blessings without starvation. Besides, Ramadan wouldn’t be so special if it happened every month – just like Christmas, it would lose its novelty.
As the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, Ramadan moves back every 10-11 days each year. Ramadan during Christmas time is better. The days are shorter and you’re surrounded by the Christmas spirit. It is a scientific fact (all my thoughts are scientific) that endorphins are usually high around this time – therefore people cannot be miserable when Ramadan occurs at the same time. Summer Ramadan isn't as fun, but as a colleague pointed out earlier, at least I’m not a poor immigrant in the UAE working all day long under the sweltering sun without food or water.
What’s funny is how people suddenly become extremely religious and thoughtful immediately before Ramadan, forwarding text messages which "remind" you all to think of God all day long, full of the usual buzzwords such as Alhamdulillah (Praise to God), Insha’Allah (God willing) and Masha’Allah (Whatever God wills), but when it’s Eid they’ll get drunk or stoned and party hard.
I guess it’s a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t – and everyone likes to point the finger during this time.
While Ramadan is a blessed month, Muslims should not forget that they have obligations all year round. I hear many people going on about what they will "achieve" during Ramadan but they should be working on those issues all the time, not just once a year. Praying and giving to charity is wonderful, but when you forget all about it after Eid, it just becomes pointless.
But most importantly, Ramadan is a time for manyIftar (evening meal) feasts – and I for one am expecting many, many invites, especially from a close friend whose mum cooks amazing food and always has a pot of hummus in the fridge. I'm assuming it is for my benefit alone.
Anyway. Enjoy Ramadan everyone and feel free to pass on any tips to get through the long days.
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