Friday, September 11, 2009


I took this definition of "Ramadan" from Wickepedia.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and indulging in anything that is in excess or ill-natured; from dawn until sunset. Fasting is meant to teach the Muslim patience, modesty and spirituality. Ramaḍān is a time for Muslims to fast for the sake of God, and to offer more prayer than usual. During Ramaḍān, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds. As compared to solar calendar, the dates of Ramadan vary, moving forward about ten days each year as it is a moving festival depending on the moon. Ramadhan was the month in which the first verses of the Qur'an were claimed to have been revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

When I returned to Egypt from the States 3 - 4 weeks ago it was Ramadan. Now, I don't know what the Muslims' attitude of Ramadan is, but I don't particularly look forward to this time of year. For the non-Muslim, it means a few inconveniences in our lives for those weeks. Muslims do not eat, drink, smoke, etc. from dawn until sunset during this time, so sometimes there are shops, restaurants, and other things that do not open till later in the day. Also, the traffic in the afternoon is terrible. I usually leave the school I teach at around 3:30 in the afternoon. On a day that the traffic is not bad, I can usually make it home in 20 to 30 minutes, but on an afternoon during Ramadan, it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half.

As you read in the definition above, this fasting time is meant to teach patience. I think this is a great concept, and I really do hope it works, but sometimes during Ramadan we see tempers flare. Now I can't really say that I blame them. I try to put myself in their shoes. First of all, Egyptians drink a lot of tea and coffee, (as do I), and I just can't imagine doing without these things and not getting my caffiene fix all day long. Secondly, there is the added frustration for those who smoke who are not getting their nicotene fix. Now, add on to this the problems of hunger pangs and being thirsty, and right now we have the added struggle of Ramadan being during part of the hottest part of the year. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't think this would do much for my patience.

After this next weekend, Ramadan will be over. There is a celebration at the end of Ramadan that I hopefully will get around to doing a post on. So, hang on to your hats and let's get ready to celebrate.


  1. Fasting is a really big part of their religion. I'm not sure I could pull it off, I have a hard enough time with Lent and fasting prayer.

  2. lol - don't worry, just a few more days!!! :) Then, nice holiday :)
    Well, I have only practiced Ramadan in the US, but I really enjoy this time. There is a big difference between doing it in the US and the Middle East (or Muslim country); namely that in the US no one else knows that the holiday is going on and so just don't understand what you are doing.
    But, and I don't know if this helps at all, Ramadan is very much like a mix between Catholic fasting for Lent and Christmas every day and night. So, it's really quite nice if you are into it.
    Yea, people get pretty... um, stressed towards breakfast, but they are considered to have 'broken' fast if they do anything to really express that anger. Discussion is one thing - swearing or beating someone up is another...
    Thankfully, I don't get too hungry after the first 3-4 days of fasting; your body gets used to it for the most part.
    Have a great last week before the holidays! :)

  3. Little P, thanks for your comment. It really hasn't been too bad this year. The most aggravating thing is that some things that are normally open in the mornings are closed, but I guess if everyone else in the country can put up with it so can I. ;o)

  4. @eloh, yes, I would have a hard time doing this fast as well. We are protestant, and we don't really have any scheduled fasts, but we are supposed to fast to improve our relationship with God, when we are seeking an answer to prayer, or when we are going through a problematic time. Unfortunately, for the most part, we do not take the time to do this. :o)

  5. I do so appreciate being part of your blog audience. The explanation of Ramadam and your reaction to that period of time, is exactly why I enjoy finding friends from other countries. I truly respect those folks for even trying. I do Lent and that is not as strict as that. Being as old as we are, HH and I do not have to fast, according to regs, but it so much a part of our lives we cannot change. We still do not eat meat on Fridays. I know why but it is now our choice. I think God appreciates a choice we make more than doing what is set down in a rule or reg.