It’s my second time to observe Ramadan yet it felt like a first during the first two days (It started on August 22). The shallow persona in me appreciates this season for two main reasons: work schedule is shortened by two hours and I lose some weight because I’m semi-fasting. I’m a Catholic and I cannot say that I intentionally fast but I wholeheartedly do it as respect for Islam. Especially that I’m in UAE.
Time Out (a practical guide on what to do, how to, etc. in UAE) shared a number of reminders before the Ramadan kicked off:
(a) Don’t smoke, drink, chew gum or eat in public in the hours between sunrise and sunset. It’s offensive, and flagrant flaunting of the rules could also get you a warning from the police or even result in you spending the rest of the month in jail.
(b) Don’t dance or sing in public at any time. Not that you should have many opportunities – there will be no live music gigs and only background music in bars.
(c) Don’t expect to have the kind of blow-out clubbing weekends you might be used to. Most major nightclubs will be shut, but many bars and pubs will be open after 7pm. A few may open before that time, but they will not serve alcohol until sundown.
(d) Don’t play loud music at any time in your car, on the beach or even at home. If it’s audible to others it may offend.
(e) Don’t wear revealing or tight clothes in public, even when you’re heading out for a night on the tiles.
(f) Don’t blaspheme or swear in public. Doing so is frowned upon at the best of times, of course, but during the whole month of Ramadan it’s particularly insulting.
(g) Do listen to your iPod if you want your music fix – so long as the music is inaudible to others you should be OK.
(h) Do make the most of the community spirit and food to be found in the iftar tents at the city’s hotels. It’s a great opportunity to relax, play games and experience traditional Arabic entertainment.
(i) Do eat at home before heading out for the night – restaurants and tents will be packed.
Non-Muslims can eat anytime in non-public places but it has to be done discreetly. In my case, I intentionally trimmed my consumption a week ago to prepare for Ramadan. I must admit though that during the first working day, I had a bad headache because of hunger and thirst. Zero food from 7:30 AM until 3:30 PM is manageable for me. But no liquid intake (especially that I’m an advocate of eight glasses of water a day) is disturbing.
Lucky are those who have access to the pantry or are in closed cubicles (unlike mine which is all glassed up + the religious observers around me). If I’m lucky, just like yesterday, I manage to munch on (as quiet as possible) a bar of Twix inside the washroom. I’m very careful in leaving traces since sense of smell functions at its best when one’s hungry.
I was discussing with an Emirati colleague whose brother is an Imam (religious leader) about Ramadan peculiarities and I’m glad to be re-oriented/oriented more. Such that:
(a) It teaches Muslims self-discipline, humility and giving. Aside from the required donation of AED 15 per member of the family and discretionary help to the needy, women are obliged to gather all their jewelries (gold and diamonds, UAE Nationals have much I tell you) and these will be weighed per owner; 2.5% of the market value of the jewelries is the amount obliged to be donated. While for men, 2.5% of their income from different sources (jewelries included) is required to be donated. All the donations go to Red Crescent. I told her it’s like another means of taxation, except that collections directly go to the needy.
(b) Praying is increased from the ordinary five to 20 times a day during Ramadan.
(c) The devils/demons are said to be imprisoned during the season. Hence, this is a perfect time to assess their intentions. Since they are free from evil influences during Ramadan, whatever not so good things that they feel would probably mean that these are inherent at the moment and must be resolved.
(d) During the last 10 days of Ramadan, they would not/would hardly sleep. They were oriented that during this period, there is an hour that Allah will come and will grant whatever they wish. No one would want to miss this. The innocent me asked, “How would you know it’s THAT hour?” She beamed, “We would know, we would all feel it, the color of the skies will change, all the signs will be there.”
The truth is non-Muslims should not feel bad about the changes that Ramadan brings. It takes a heart to know where they are coming from and to appreciate the reasons why they are doing it. What makes this bearable for me is when I put myself in their shoes. Sense of respect matters a lot.
0 thoughts on “My second Ramadan”
Buti pa sila, 6 hours a day lang. Habang dito ang hindi muslim ay 8 hours pa rin. Pero sabay din kaming nag aayuno pag nasa opisina.
Hayy, some people are just more equal done others.
sounds like a lot of sacrifice, especially for us Filipinos, who are not used to such rigid “rules.”
“Non-Muslims can eat anytime in non-public places but it has to be done discreetly”– di ko ata to kaya. i like enjoying my food, even in public! he! he!
this is a shining example of “when in rome, do as the romans do.” or at the very least, respect their traditions and religious beliefs.
if one needs to do some extreme penitence giving up vices, i think they should consider going to UAE during ramadan.
I want to experience Ramadan, but I think after one day, I’d give up as I don’t really have that much self-discipline especially on food. Anyway, I think it’s good that non-Muslims also observe this – it’s experiencing Ramadan first hand. Be strong!
ang dami palang kailangang gawin or i take note anoh? oh well you really need o adjust since ikaw ang nasa land nila 😉
Ramadan is indeed a good chance to practice self-discipline for non-Muslims. good thing that you have psyched up yourself before the Ramadan.
My husband is Christian and fasts (no food nor water from time he wakes up to 6:30 pm)once a week without fail. He urges me to fast too, and chides me and my Catholic ways of fasting during holy week. My fasting of course has no meat, but I can eat fish, which he asks if there is no meat in fish. He just don’t get the Catholic way :=)
Oh jo, ang hirap pala. But Ramdan season is good for people like me intending to cut off with some fats. Haha. It’s a hard sacrifice but if only to respect other people’s beliefs, okey lang yan.
that’s how sacred or holy ramadan is to them. hmmm…. reminds me of my father’s own experience when he worked in saudi.
i have a classmate who’s also fasting. i really admire their discipline and honesty with the fasting. 🙂 i wonder how he could study without food on his stomach. 🙂
i’m lucky that my company and most of the Muslim employees here do understand that some of us need to eat. di naman sila maselan kasi outnumbered pa rin sila. besides, i’m an exception kasi buntis. hehehe. ako din di ko kakayanin ang walang water. goodluck on your semi-fasting! 🙂
they say fasting is good for health because it get rids of the toxins in your body. Ramadan is one reason to do it 🙂
Sa work… medyo tago lang pag kumakain, pero may cup ako sa tabi 🙂
.-= metalpigs´s last blog ..Mubarak Alaikum (Happy Ramadan) =-.