Your stupid questions, answered. [Ramadan]

Can you believe we’re halfway through Ramadan? I feel like it’s been Ramadan for so long… Although most Western countries are full of Muslims who observe this month, there are still people have no idea about anything.

So today, in honour of my two year anniversary with WordPress, I’m going to answer some of the stupid questions I actually hear; The inquisitive mind is wonderful, but here are a few things you should probably not say or ask.

1] Just have a little – I won’t tell anyone!
Cue Katie Hopkins proudly saying that if she were Muslim, she’d pretend to be pregnant so she can eat. Guess what. We can eat if we want! Nobody is forcing us to fast! We fast for God, and primary  school education should teach you already that God is omniscient! What is the purpose of us eating when we’re supposed to be fasting, if the only reason we are doing it is for God, who can see everything we’re doing and thinking? Why, please? In short, it doesn’t matter if you don’t tell anyone. Please say this to me so that I get extra rewards for the amount of patience I’ll be needing.

2] OMG so you don’t eat for  a whole month…won’t you die
This is one of those stupid questions that I can call stupid guilt-free. If we didn’t eat for a month, yes, we would die. As you know, Islam is the fastest growing religion. If we were all starving ourselves of food and water for 30 days straight, we’d all die, so how would that work? Wouldn’t we all be WIPED off the face of the Earth? We eat between sunset and just before sunrise every day. For 30 days.

3] What happens if you get REALLY hungry and you die
God is merciful. If we fall ill, or if we’re physically unable to continue our fast, we are permitted to break it. The fast is not supposed to be detrimental to our health, in fact it is a sort of detox that benefits our physical and mental well-being. Fasting isn’t as hard as it sounds, and if a person is unable to keep their fast for a legitimate reason, nothing will happen if they break it.  And if we do die during Ramadan whilst we’re fasting, what a blessing that would be.

4] *sees muslim girl eating* OMG WHY AREN’T YOU FASTING
As I said, nobody is forced to fast, and a person may have just chosen not to for whatever reason. Secondly, certain people are exempt from fasting. This includes children, the elderly, the sick, and the pregnant. Most commonly, though, if you see a girl eating during the daylight hours of a day in Ramadan, she might be on her period. Women are not permitted to fast during their time of the month, so perhaps give people excuses before you scream at them and expose them for not fasting when they’re quietly trying to eat. The poor girl probably feels guilty enough eating when she is supposed to.

5] I feel so bad for you. No food, drink or sex for 30 days. Why is your religion so harsh?
As I said before, God is merciful. Fasting isn’t a punishment, it’s a month of self reflection and becoming closer to Islam and ourselves. The way we are during Ramadan is the way we’re supposed to be for the whole year, it’s a fast from all bad intentions, bad actions, bad thoughts; it’s a blessed month that we yearn for every year. Even the poorest of people observe and cherish the month of Ramadan, and those who can’t fast often feel terrible that they can’t reap the rewards. The desire to pray, to give to charity, to do good all increases during Ramadan and the devil is chained up. So don’t feel bad for us, because we love it.

6] You’re gonna lose so much weight!
Actually, no. I don’t even know why people say this? Some people lose, some gain and some remain. Usually we’ll lose muscle and our bodies cling onto every bit of fat they can, especially if we’re not training. Thus, guess what happens at iftar, when the majority of us who are fortunate gorge on carbs and fat and oil and desserts? WE STORE IT. To be fair, though, we all store fat differently. FYI, if you haven’t gathered already, we don’t fast for the purpose of altering our weight, so it doesn’t matter whether we lose weight or not.

7] Aww man. so we gotta wait a month for you to hit the club with us?

DO NOT. SAY THIS. The majority of us, I hope, don’t go through Ramadan waiting for it to be over so we can go back to being our less-than-perfect selves. Ramadan is for us to reflect and realise how easy and rewarding it is to be Muslim. There is no point in going through Ramadan just waiting for the chance to be bad again – God knows your intentions. So don’t encourage a Muslim to do this, it’s so disrespectful. If you see a ‘Muslim’ who normally drinks, smokes and parties completely change their life around during Ramadan, don’t discourage them from continuing on after the month is over. Either praise them or say nothing and move along. Ramadan isn’t just a month for not eating – it’s a starvation from all worldly things and a way to spiritually better ourselves.

8] How come you’re acting Muslim this month? Shouldn’t you always do it? I’m judging you.
This is one that both Muslims and non-Muslims ask: DON’T. It is disrespectful, especially if the ‘Ramadan Muslim’ in question hasn’t expressed that they’re going to go back to their old ways afterwards. Ramadan is a turning point for so many people, and whilst it might not work one year, it may work the next. Some girls become ‘Ramadan hijabis’, but did you ever stop to think that they might decide to carry on wearing it afterwards? Some guys might spend their Ramadan nights with a Quran rather than texting 1000 girls like they normally do, but instead of mocking them, did you ever stop to think that this might be a permanent change? No matter how close to Islam we are, none of us are perfect. In Ramadan, it’s easier to do good and think good, and so Ramadan is a very possible turning point for everyone.

9] ISIS!!!!!!
Ahh yes. ISIS, the Muslim organisation that encourages Muslims to attack, bomb and kill during Ramadan. I repeat, a “Muslim” organisation that encourages us to SIN in the holy month of Ramadan, in the name of “Islam”! An organisation that thinks its okay to murder, period, and then murder during Ramadan! So Muslim!

10] How do you function when you’re fasting? In this HEAT?
To be fair… I don’t know. I get tired, I get thirsty, I get tired, tired, tired. I get so tired that I can’t even pick up a book or concentrate on anything at all! I don’t have the will to internet shop or watch TV. I get so angry but I don’t even have the energy to be angry. I find myself just sleeping and praying…

I guess the fact is that, although we may often get hungry, we’re reminded of how there are many people that have to go through this every single day and they still maintain the strongest faith and retain good hearts. Whilst you longingly stare at your fully stocked kitchen and running taps, knowing that they will be available to you after Maghrib, there are many people who don’t have this. There are many who are lucky to even have a clean glass of water for suhoor, when we’re already planning the feast we’ll be gorging on after iftar, with only dates and milk as a bare minimum. We have the luxury of being able to relax in our homes, in our beds, or even go to work to earn money, waiting for the time where we know we will eat again. We have the luxury of praying on something soft, of being protected from the heat and the dry air, of knowing that we’re already healthy and this fast cannot kill us. We may not even have the energy to use the material things that we are slaves to, even watching the television may strain our minds, and it is a reminder that,  no matter what, God always has power over us and can take away these luxuries at any time. It’s a reminder of how fortunate we are, that we are blessed with whatever we have, and it is a reminder of how we take things for granted.

– k.

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