The Truth Shall Set You Free…It might piss you off first, but it will set you free.

Ramadan Fasting FAQ’s

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on August 11, 2010

It’s Day #1 – the temperatures are rapidly moving up in Cairo, a high today expected to reach 97 degrees – without factoring in humidity, yea it’s warm…and yet the vast majority of people approach the fast with eagerness and dedication.
Fasting is obviously not a practice limited to Muslims. Native Americans fast, Jews fast, Hindus fast, Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. Virtually every Christian sect from Catholics to Mormons have some type of “fast”.
Below, in no particular order are my FAQ’s – if I didn’t hit your question..ask, and I’ll ask…

Question: What if you are not Muslim but in a Muslim country, are you required to fast?

Answer: It will vary country to country. CHECK the guidelines from the Embassy. Generally speaking it just isn’t nice to eat, drink and smoke in front of fasting people. What you do behind your closed door is different. I am Catholic, in Egypt, which is predominately Muslim, but there are lots of Christians here, nobody is holding a gun to my head making me fast. If I decide to fast, which I am, it is my choice. But let’s also use a bit of common sense. If your partner is on a diet do you eat a fresh baked gooey chocolate chip cookie in front of them? If your friend is trying to quit smoking do you blow smoke in their face? (I hope the answer is no, but there is always the proverbial jerk in the group.) Christians here are very cognizant of the fact that their neighbors are fasting, and you see people being considerate. It just isn’t in good taste to walk down the street smoking and chowing down on a cheeseburger, ya know?

Question: Are all Muslims required to fast?

Answer: No, as a matter of fact there are certain conditions where fasting is forbidden…like if you are elderly, conversely children, if you are sick, breastfeeding, pregnant, menstruating , required to take medication, traveling. These are a few of the reasons why one would have a valid “license” not to fast. highlights.

Question: What if I just can’t make it, I need to eat that cheeseburger now!! Now do you hear me?!! Now!!! ..or I forgot and drank

Answer: The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak…..we’ve all been there. Assuming you do not have a “license” not to fast due to the above mentioned situations, and are Muslim… Eat it. The trade off as it were is you must feed at least one person from what you are eating. So if you are eating steak and lobster, you feed them steak and lobster, not beans. You are also given the option of making up the fast at a later date.

Question: Isn’t it hard to work and function when you are fasting like this?

Answer: Yup. Cairo is home to 7 million people, and everybody wants to get home to break their fast, nobody feels like working when you are hot, thirsty and tired. Work days are shortened. Traffic is miserable. The heat is stifling. And yet, when you look around you, you are continually greeted by strangers wishing you Ramadan Karim, smiling. All recognizing this is a tribal journey. Fasting is difficult, and it is a sacred part of many religious rites. It makes one pious, to feel that pang of hunger in your stomach, the dryness of your throat reminds us that we are all pilgrims on this planet on a shared journey regardless of faith. It reminds me of the poem Ithaka by C.P. Cavafy a Greek poet born in 1873 in Alexandria Egypt…it is not about getting to the end, it is about experiencing the here and now, whether we are fasting or just living life…


As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.


One Response to “Ramadan Fasting FAQ’s”

  1. Ramadan: A Time Of Delicious Fasting?…

    I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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