Ramadan for a Day

I gave Ramadan a whirl, albeit just for one day. Starving oneself until ~8PM was just about bearable (although the free food offered at work sure didn’t help), but not being able to drink all day is tough, really tough.

At sunset a feast ensued, although you do appreciate it and dwell on it’s symbolism rather than just pig out. I’m toying with the idea of doing the whole month next year (which will be in August). No promises though.

Happy Eid el-Fitr.

 Tags: Random   Published: 1st October '08


8 Archived Wordpress Comments

alan brown

Wow! A whole day’s worth of radical chic a la ‘religion of peace’. “Tough, really tough, eh?” You poor brave thing.

Keith Mander

Bit of a cynic, huh?

I’d be hesitant in describing Islam as being in vogue. There are many more Muslims than there are Aesthetics; I merely want to find out more about something I understand poorly and where my opinion is in a relative minority. Practising Ramadan for a day barely touches the surface compared to doing the real thing, but it does at least give you a sense of what it’s all about.

alan brown

Hello Keith

If you want to find out what Islam is all about, try discussing Mohammed’s nine-year-old bride with a bunch of Muslims. Try discussing science (apparently it’s all in the Koran, except for evolution, which got missed out). And if they tell you that fasting at Ramadan gives you an insight into human suffering, you could mention that your typical third-world famine victim doesn’t get a chance to stuff himself silly as soon as the sun goes down.

alan brown

Oh, by the way, it’s just occurred to me … did you mean ‘atheists’ when you wrote ‘Aesthetics’? I was trying to look at Islam from an aesthetic point of view, but the penny’s just dropped. Either you’re a bit too clever for me, or you need a new spell-checker. In case you’re interested, my knowledge of Islam is derived almost entirely from the experience of living and working in Nelson, Lancs, UK. I stumbled upon your blog while researching EH Shepard.

Keith Mander

I meant atheists, my mind is elsewhere :)

Keith Mander

“… try discussing Mohammed’s nine-year-old bride with a bunch of Muslims”

I absolutely agree that it’s a really tough idea to fathom. However, I think we all too often overlook the historical context when applying our own modern values in judging a historic event. Vastly longer life spans and changing social norms have resulted in us regarding young marriages and early procreation as an oddity or even ‘wrong’, but that just wasn’t the case in the times of the Prophet. Similarly, we frequently find ourselves criticising the lack of freedoms in China, but at the same time forget that it wasn’t so long ago that homosexuality was illegal in the UK and that woman weren’t able to vote. Perhaps China is just a bit behind us and we shouldn’t be too boastful about our own record.

All in all, I do agree with you – for I too am an atheist. However, we have to be critical in a constructive and respectful way.

alan brown

Hello Keith

I intended to make a different point. I find my Muslim colleagues and students to be no different in nature from the English ones, except for their attitude to their religion itself … I feel a constant “walking on eggs” sensation that any non-laudatory mention of Islam will provoke a hostile and potentially violent over-reaction. You speak of a ‘historic event’, forgetting that Muslims regard the life and customs of Mohammed as providing a perfect example to be followed by all mankind for all time. Mohammed is not “The Prophet” except to Muslims. To non-Muslims he is “the Islamic prophet” (small p). What makes you think I’m an atheist? I’m not an anything, although I quite like the idea of being an aesthete. Why should I respect an ideology that I fundamentally disagree with? Would you expect me to respect Marxism or National Socialism? And what does ‘respect’ mean, anyway? (that’s a really tricky one, but I feel that anybody who wants me to ‘respect’ them is implying on my part at least some degree of fear of the consequences of ‘dissing’.

Alan

Keith Mander

I agree that it often feels that religion is given an extra blanket of protection from public scrutiny. On the other hand, society has no issues with criticism of peoples political stance or any other opinion held. But to say that is wrong to believe in a God is a big no-no. This seems to be a real problem; in that atheism struggles to get the platform to inform people on mass about how life without God can be a compelling alternative.

However, I think believe in a God is pretty different from a belief in Liberalism. They’re not just two different kind of ideologies; for those who fully embrace the teachings of the Bible will embody their faith in everything that they do. Thus, to challenge their belief is to challenge everything that they are (values, personality, attitude etc). Therefore, in my opinion it should rightly be a sensitive topic. The interesting exception is how we might be able to communicate with moderates on their faith.

That said, to your question about respect – the key is to respect peoples right to believe what they wish and not necessarily the belief itself.