Ramadan Kareem

ramadan

Today marks the official start of Ramada, the fasting period before Eid. It is similar to Lent before Easter, but a lot stricter.  No water or food is to be ingested between certain hours (as decided by the moon), the fast is broken with a meal called Iftar.  This meal tends to be shared with family and close friends and is a very important ritual.  No alcohol is to be consumed, people shouldn’t smoke and should refrain from thinking any kind of impure thoughts.

Ramadan has a big impact on life in the U.A.E.  For instance most places cease to serve lunch and trying to get a coffee can become somewhat of a challenge as most places are shut. Also you can not get alcohol during the day.  Come 7pm though everywhere is back up and running and you can drink to your hearts content, if you’re not observing Ramadan of course.

Working life also changes, I will be working two hours less for the duration of Ramadan. This time will of course be devoted to yet more driving lessons!  Not everyone gets reduced working hours so I feel very lucky to get them.

People are encouraged to respect Ramadan.  For instance you should refrain from eating or drinking in public.  This extends to your car as well!  In my office we make it common practice to check if anyone in the room is observing Ramadan and if they are then we check if they mind if anyone drinks water.  As yet I have never heard of anyone saying that someone can’t drink water in front of them, but if they did I would definitely respect that.  Our canteen remains open so that we can have lunch, but it was noticably emptier today.

Day one has quite a nice feeling to it…but by the middle I imagine tempers may start to fray as people get tired.  This is my first full Ramadan, I moved in the middle of the last one so I am curious to see how it feels.

If you know of anyone observing Ramadan you can wish them ‘Ramadan Kareem’.  For those of you observing Ramadan ‘Ramadan Kareem’ from me to you, may you indeed enjoy a blessed time with friends and family.

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7 thoughts on “Ramadan Kareem

  1. Tara says:

    It’s really interesting to hear about this. I think I would be worried about offending someone, although hopefully, like you, I would have taken the time to learn about it first. Beautiful image too.

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    • widerangingramblings says:

      I’m glad you found it interesting! I think most people are very laid back and hard to offend. That said I’m glad I researched so I don’t accidentally offend someone! The image is from Google, there are lots of stunning ones! My next job is learning how to do them myself…I can’t seem to work it out at all!

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  2. Muddy mum says:

    I love how life for everyone changes as a mark of respect for those fasting. I love to see the beliefs of others respected although I suspect I suspect I’d find it tricky to deal with the getting coffee issue!

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    • widerangingramblings says:

      Yes it’s really impressive how everyone just gets on with it! You don’t hear any complaints either. Most people adjust and just get used to bringing coffee with them…we are spoiled at work too as we have a nespresso machine! Honestly it really only impacts weekends and even still there are places that serve lunch to expats behind curtains so we don’t cause any offence.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. theeditorsjournal says:

    Really interesting. I always find it more interesting to see these things through another non Muslim, westerners eyes as opposed to a practicing Muslim who might miss out all the subtle bits that they take for granted as they are used to it. Hearing it from the trenches as it were is also more fun than Googling it. Having said that, how long is Ramadan, a month? What is it’s historical purpose do you know?

    I also find the bit about not complaining an interesting cultural difference. (Do I get a badge for the most usage of the word ‘interesting’ – I can’t summon up another alternative right now!) 🙂

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    • widerangingramblings says:

      I think you’re right that as an ‘outsider’ I definitely have a different perspective. I do find it quite interesting that a lot of westerners don’t get it at all and don’t understand why they don’t do away with it. I find that a bit ignorant to be honest, it would be akin to telling us to get rid of Lent. People do say it should be moved because of the intense heat but honestly I don’t see how you can change the time it is set any more than you can move Christmas day! Ramadan is a month and is decided by the lunar calendar (like all our holidays here actually).
      Fasting is not just giving up food and water – they are also supposed not to have impure thoughts or sexual intercourse. It’s a time that is meant to be purifying of both body and mind in order to bring one closer to God.
      There are exemptions – illness and pregnancy for example. Also women can’t fast during menstruation and they can’t enter a mosque either as they are deemed ‘impure’ during this time. It’s a lot like lent but it’s more extreme and you’re much more aware of people doing it – there are Iftar tents everywhere where people go to break their fasts and meet with friends and family for example. I have one Muslim friend though who thinks that these commerical Iftars are really wrong. It’s definitely a time that people spend differently dependent on their cultures and point of view. If you go to someones home during Ramadan you should bring dates rather than chocolate/cake as these aren’t really allowed during Ramadan.
      It is really interesting (and yes for sure you get the badge – that often happens to me where you get stuck on a word so I totally empathise!) and I hope this offered you some more insights!

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