Today marks the first day of Ramadan, the Holy Month for Muslims all over the world. For those of you who actually know a muslim or two, you know what this means. From dawn until sunset (whenever it is light outside for those of you who are bad with time) muslims must refrain from eating, drinking (yes that includes water), and having sex (yep, that’s right, no day time hanky panky) for a whole month. This is known as fasting. But read that again, I didn’t say they can’t eat or drink for a month, I said they can’t eat or drink from dawn until sunset for a month. If you are still confused, please stop reading this now and start reading Green Eggs and Ham (ham, is forbidden to eat for Muslims) at page 8 so that the story is ruined for you. So if you hear someone say they are fasting, just know that it is not some new P90x ultra workout. So for those of you who don’t have any personal muslim friends, but can recognize them as if you were working airport security for the TSA, please make note. The reason those brown people/covered ladies/bearded dudes/ay-rabs/mozlims aren’t having lunch isn’t because they are plotting to take over the world. It’s because they are offering a form of submission to God. Speaking of God, the word for God in Arabic is Allah. That’s right, Allah isn’t a separate God, he is God. Just like queso means cheese in Spanish, this is just a translation. So ignorant people, PLEASE pick up on that. Other important qualities Muslims must adhere to during this month include abstaining from lying (pretty sure everyone should do this)and learning how to be patient (again, everyone should jump on this train). So what is so special about this particular month (which moves every year folks, based off of the Lunar Calendar)? To Muslims, the month of Ramadan is the month the Holy Quran was revealed, that is why it is so important. The Quran is the Muslim people’s Bible. I am no scholar, and I won’t pretend to be, but that’s just a simplistic perspective for you guys.
So here comes the fun stuff. Let’s talk about what tends to happen during Ramadan. I’ll go list format because it’s easier and I’m lazy.
- Some fasting Muslims will be very cranky in the first week. People need their coffee. They may not be friendly. Avoid annoying fasting people in the morning.
- Although Muslims fast to teach them how those who are less fortunate are, at night, all bets are off. If you’re wondering why your Muslim friend described a feast for the last 3 days, it’s because they had a feast the last 3 days. 30 days to be exact.
- Your fasting friends will constantly check the clock. As they check the clock, you will hear them mumble things like “man I’m so hungry” or “I just need water, the food thing doesn’t even bother me”
- At some point a non-Muslim will say they will fast with a Muslim co-worker or friend. This will last all of 3 hours until that person “accidentally” drinks some water. They will then say it’s too late and will go out to lunch with other non fasting people.
- Fasters will hear from non-fasters “I don’t know how you do it” or “you look tired/sick you should drink a little bit of water.”
- If you’re Muslim, all of a sudden you will be invited out to lunch by so many people who have never so much as offered you a piece of gum. Suddenly corporations will have sponsored lunches for an entire month. Suddenly that girl next to you in class will offer you a candy bar to eat every single day, when she’d never done such a thing. Ever (thanks for that Jennifer). Suddenly everyone wants to eat lunch at work. They will drink that Gatorade in the middle of a conversation. They will eat that burger as they “work” during lunch. Nothing you can do about it my fasting compadres. That. Just. Happened.
Islam (the arabic word for submission or peace) is the second largest religion in the world. It is also the fastest growing religion in the world. To all the non-Muslims who read this, know that the more you learn about people, the easier it is to understand them. For all the Muslim people who read this, have a blessed month of Ramadan, and know that not everyone understands your religion just like you won’t understand theres. Do what you can to teach people about yourself and your beliefs and learn what you can about people who are different than you so that you can understand where they are coming from. Building bridges since Lego’s in 1985 (I’m guestimating that to be when I first started using Lego’s).
If you’re fasting, try your best to be kind, honest, and approachable. Achieve what you can out of your Holy Month people. Don’t just be of those who only get hunger and thirst from this Ramadan. 16 hours of not eating or drinking. Eek, if I turn off the lights and hide under my blanket can I drink something??