Wednesday, September 03, 2008

fasting in this heat

Here it is Ramadan and no one is allowed to eat, drink, smoke, chew gum, have sex from sun up to sun down and if you're not Muslim, you have to abide by the same rules if out and about around Bahrain. Matter of fact, there's a jail sentence or large fine if caught drinking, eating, smoking and such while outdoors. If I'm not mistaken, hotels no longer serve food during the day, and forget about alcohol.

It's been over 115F and close to 120 most days, and the humidity is well over 80%.... and ppl (Muslims) are fasting.... which equals no water intake all day long! You go outside and you sweat like you're in a sauna... drenched after only a few minutes (no kidding), there are ppl working outside in this heat (Muslims and non-Muslims)... and NO ONE is allowed to drink water! This does not equal, to me, a healthy body. No wonder ppl are suffering w/ intense headaches. Their bodies are dehydrated and they have to suffer until 6 pm to quench that hellacious thirst.

Truly, I find this to be ridiculous.

Why on earth it would be against the Almighty to drink water, giving your body what it needs, to keep your body from having heatstroke or having severe dehydration and such... well, to me, it just seems ..... terribly unhealthy and illogical.

And next year.... Ramadan will fall during the month of August I've heard.... fun, fun, fun, fun, fun. I'm already tired of it and it's only what.... 3 days in?!! I'm not fasting anyhoo, but to see my husband come home from work w/ severe headaches and not happy... and he doesn't even work outside. Imagine having to work outside all day w/out any water.... it isn't sane.


Coolred38 said...

Unfortunately...the ill effects are made worse because in the night when people are allowed to drink water...they choose instead to drink caffine rich drinks...and coffees etc...which leach the body of much needed moisture they are just harming themselves more. Drink water people while u have the chance.

ange Embuldeniya said...

It's been some time, yet another blog posting here that's most welcome :):)

Honestly though... if you're in the Seef Area, Juffair, Adliya and the like, there's still hotels and diners operational ;-) Just to give you some proof of the pudding, pay a visit tomorrow morning/afternoon to La Mediterranean at the Ritz, or Basha Lounge in the Mercure, Soie in Sheraton and even Saj Express ;-) - they're all open and serving, - i do admit that some of the diners have taken an unfair advantage of Ramadan and hiked their prices up a bit but - if you're not fasting and in need of a meal there are places to go and dine at.

Drive thrus at DQ Grill & Chill or Saj Express are open and they sure are open for phone deliveries as well :P

I personally have nothing against folks who fast or those who don't, but something I've noticed is that, as long as you're dining some place which is private or in a manner which respects those who are fasting, most people don't mind.

It's my first year experiencing it all here in Bahrain during Ramadan, having lived here for over 24 years, I was always under the impression that everything shuts down.. this year however I am exploring that part of Bahrain I never knew :)


muslim said...

BTW ppl are allowed to break their fast if they're doing an exhausting job ,and anyone who thinks it might do any damage to his/her health by any means.. so Islam is not meant to torture ppl .

And also it was opposed 1400 years ago when there were no AC or anthing of the sort and they did fast, you can't get rewards if you don't exert an effort , no?

There's a thing i don't like here though..the fines or jailing thing if you break your fast in public..I think it's rediculous , God is the one who punishes/rewards ppl for their deeds ..they might have their reasons .

Angry In Oman said...

I totally agree with you :)

It's not for me that's for sure, and I agree to that it's not for the police to control human needs.

Dana said...

What ange Embuldeniya is true. Some of my family members don't fast due to health reasons, and even domino's delivers. Even some local bakeries (khabbaz) will service those who are not fasting (I'm told you honk your horn and he comes out). And the law, well I didn't put it in place, but as far as I know, as long as you are not doing something really outrageous like walking with a whiskey bottle in seef- you won't get arrested.

Those who work in the heat and need the water else they'll harm themselves should drink. It's a personal choice they make of having water or not.

I really think how you feel in Ramadan is pretty much how you prepare yourself to feel. That applies to those who fast, but especially those who don't and think they just have to "suffer".

And hey, you don't have to pay for Ritz, Palace Inn serves a nice lunch for a reasonable price.

Um Naief said...

wow... you have have really enlightened me! i had no idea that so many places are serving food during the day. now, i heard that dominos was... and that you could place an order by phone and then pick it up, but i didn't realize so many others were.

and i also didn't realize that if you were working outside that you could have water if you were fasting. that's really good to know.

boy... a lot of new ppl leaving comments here... most of you guys i've never seen before. WELCOME!!!
hope you come back and hope you enjoy the blog!! :)

ramadan kareem! :)

ange Embuldeniya said...

Ramadan Kareem Um Naief, and thanks dana for the heads up on Palace Inn :):)

The Queen said...

"there's a jail sentence or large fine if caught drinking, eating, smoking and such while outdoors"

Yet, there's also "no compulsion in religion"

What I see is,'they have corrupted their book'. The new religion was supposed to be about using common sense, compassion and reason but it turned into not much more than a set of strict rules with laws if you don't follow them according to the ruling class's interpretation of the rules.

end of rant... for now

Chief Rock Chef said...

I remember reading that when the British were fighting in the Sudan they hit on the idea of attacking during Ramadan when the enemy were almost totally incapable of fighting back...

Hope you all get through OK. Does it apply to children too? I would assume not.

Um Naief said...

queen, there are many different break-offs, if that's what it should be called, from the two sects. maybe one of these off-shoots has created a "new religion", as i know there are some that are very liberal and such... but i've never heard anything about this 'new religion'. the MPs are the ones that push this stuff, as well as the imam's, if i'm not mistaken... not sure that it comes down from the ruling class (as many of them are very open).. but maybe it does. i'm interested though... so i'll do some digging.

rock chef, you history buff!! :) i can imagine the enemy would be good and tired. fasting like this wipes you out. the first day of ramadan, i started teaching at my MILs school, and since they're all Muslim, but a few, everyone fasts. i was exhausted by iftar (breaking of the fast) and after eating, even more so. and not drinking, just for the few hours that i'm there, gives me a headache.

and no, the children do not fast. children start fasting at 12 or 13, which still seems very young to me. pregnant women do not fast and my husband's father doesn't, but he's in his 70s and has diabetes. also, if it's that time of the month for a woman, she does not fast, but later makes up that week (after Ramadan) by fasting.

Christopher said...

I think it would be fabulous if we could just videotape ourselves having fondue and broadcasting it in Mecca, guzzling white wine and brandied swiss cheese melted, dipping apples, and garlic yelling "What ya think a that, Mo?"

Anonymous said...

christopher i think that is rude and is very cheap and low class to make a comment like that...thisnk before u comment or keep your stupid comments to yourself

Anonymous said...

oh and by the way that

is basphemous to talk about another religions prophets like that ....u lack taste...u disgust meee..

The Queen said...

The 'new religion' I was speaking of is the original Islam.
By the 'ruling class' statement I guess I meant the way that the different cultures have added to it over the years and corrupted the original message as they saw fit or maybe as they understood it.

What is the point of the sacrifice of a fast if you are protected from it's difficulties? Like of seeing others not fasting or if you sleep all day? Are the poor and starving people (who the fasters are supposed to be feeling for) are they protected from seeing those who have too much? Do they get to fill their bellies to the rim at night? It just seems so pointless to me I suppose.

Anonymous said...

The queen,

Fasting purpose is not to feel for the's for the person to feel how poor he is towards God , it's mainly depriving ppl from eating ,drinking , sex with their wives even though all the above is halal in daily life , so if u r leaving the halal(premissible) while u r fasting it's even more logical to leave the haram(impremissible) and so you learn to control yourself and prevent it from doing the haram .

Christopher said...

Oh piss off anonymous. Let me fill you in a bit about moi:

I grew up in Corvallis Oregon, in the 1980's to a Jewish mother and a baptized Catholic father (and raised Quaker), where there was a strong Islamic community, due to the fact that many of the men were sent to Oregon State University from Saudi Arabia and surrounding Islamic countries to be potential engineers (and OSU is renown for such)for ARAMCO. What was amazing to me, is that because of the Mosque, all of those countries in some various religious and economic war with one another the people were able to unite by faith. My family ran the only import grocery between Eugene and Portland and 80% of our customers were from those very countries. By the time I was 6 I could speak Arabic fairly fluently, as many of the women babysat my sister and I and we grew up with these children and their parents.

I'm sorry if such a comment offended you, but if someone cracks a joke, don't be offended to the point that that they themselves won't follow you up YOUR own asshole, because you cannot see the irony or a joke.

God is God, and honestly I myself do not really think he gives a flying fuck what you believe in (in the many incarnations of HIS ((and sometimes to others HER spirit)), as long as it is peaceful, loving, and in the many different splinter faiths, they somehow all unite in my book, and honestly since you don't know me, I am a cynic and a shit. I think Naif would crack a smile at what I said KNOWING what kind of person I am and that it isn't a serious assault, but a giggle and a "Oh how could you!" is probably what she would say to me. She is an American living in that country, she was raised with freedom of choice and seperation of church and state..She has also been reading my website for over a year and knows what I am capable of saying, so since this is her page, if she feels like chewing me out, let her do it...and while were at it anonymous please worry about YOU!

I'm not your bitch don't hang your shit on me!

Christopher said...

P.S. If i didn't say it, I am sure comedian Kathy Griffin would have said something like it, so I guess I am in good company.

Christopher said...

Sorry for my potty mouth Um Naif...would a some M.A.C lipstick sent to you be grounds for forgiveness?

Um Naief said...

kissyfur, as soon as i read your first post, i laughed. because it is funny. it's not putting down God or the prophet, it's just cracking a joke. i think WAY TOO MANY PPL get offended by the smallest things nowadays, and it becomes tiring trying to deal w/ it. so you offended me not in the slightest!! :) i think you're funny, funny, funny and you always make me smile... so just say it like it is!

anon, i've been reading christopher's blog for long while and his comment didn't offend me in the slightest. i think that the world should be open to make a joke w/out so many ppl getting bent out of shape. some ppl just have a different sense of humor than others.. that's what makes the world go round... you know?!

i will add this in that i do agree w/ queen, in that i think that not having a temptation here, how can one truly feel like they are sacrificing? in the States, all the restaurants are open, alcohol is served in most and for Muslims, i think that's where the true test lies. you are surrounded by co-workers eating, ppl eating out on the street, smoking, chewing gum, everything that society does in every day life, but as a Muslim, you are to refrain. to me, that is the ultimate test of will. i think closing down every possible place to take the temptation away is just crazy. so many ppl live here from so many different backgrounds - many of whom aren't Muslim - and i just don't get it. on one hand, Bahrain wants to be a cosmopolitan city, but on the other hand, they go backwards w/ things like this. but... all in all it is an Islamic country... so what do i know?!!

Um Naief said...

honestly, i just sat here and read your comment, (kissyfur), to my husband and i laughed out loud! :) we were just talking about fondue today at the grocery, after i asked to taste the cheese and realized it was ramadan!! imagine. i did sneak into the video store beside the cart area and chew up a piece of gum for the little one...

anyhoo... it all just made me laugh.

your comment is funny!! ppl need to lighten up. for goodness sakes!

Christopher said...

Thank you so much for letting me know I didn't offend you (and I knew I wouldn't). I'm sorry if some readers just do not get a joke. Keep writing, Keep sharing what it is you are feeling about adjusting to a different culture, and trying to follow what rules you can, no matter how antiquated they might feel. THAT is part of the experience and joy of learning...see you at Clinique!

Olivia said...

Well defended, Kissyfur! Everyone needs a light moment and every blog needs a comic relief comment, and that is what Christopher provides.

Anyway, as regards Ramadan. I physically could not do it. I'm hypoglycemic, so chances are I'd probably end up developing some health problem. No matter how fortified my breakfast, I am shaky and lightheaded by 11am - and if I put off eating for too long after that I am guaranteed to get a headache. This happens now in my busy healthcare job - but it also happened at the office when I sat in front of a computer all day. So I simply cannot win!

I hope that the people who need to eat are given the proper allowances. Do they need an official note or something, in case others inlcuding employers need to know?

I do think 12 or 13 is too early. Honestly, fasting and not drinking fluids is not good at any age. I cannot imagine the long-term effects of doing it annually. But to ask it of a growing and developing body is unkind. Kids are already impossibly hungry all the time at that age because they need the nourishment to grow. We all need it to function.

I'm not totally against fasting. It can be done in a safe way to detoxify the body, while not cutting out liquids. My mother used to fast as many Christians do when undergoing times of deep prayer, or for certain holidays. Whereas Catholics and Anglicans only forego certain food indulgences, those who observe the Greek or Eastern Orthodox religions fast during Lent. The diet becomes mostly non dairy vegetarian, meals are less frequent and much smaller during the day. In this way you can still be quite hungry without suffering. And it is completely optional. The ramifications for breaking a fast are spiritual, not legal. And again, I don't think God minds as much as humans do.

L_Oman said...

Oy - tell me about the headaches. Day 2 I was sure my eyes would pop out of my head. It was rough!

One of our masons that built our house fasted all the way through last year and I was amazed just how he did it. He worked as hard, if not harder than the other workers and I felt so sorry for him at times. We made sure to bring him special food though!

Um Naief said...

olivia, when fasting for Lent, we'd sometimes go the day w/out eating or just give up meat at lunch or have fish, and then the old 'give up your favorite thing' was always there... be it chocolate, alcohol, sweets, whatever.... and i think this is a good way of fasting. it never deprives the body of what it needs to stay healthy. i also agree w/ you in that it doesn't hurt to fast for medical conditions or to cleanse the body, or like you mother, for deeply spiritual times.

i can't imagine how one would do it if they had any type of medical condition... like you, i'm assuming there are those that just can't w/out having severe probs because of it. i sometimes have wondered if i don't have probs w/ my blood sugar levels as well, since i often get severe headaches if i don't eat or drink properly.

kissyfur, clinique??!!! i thought sephora was the hot ticket now?!! :) did i tell you that i looked for the face lift stuff and they didn't have it... so much for my looking 10 yrs younger! they had something, i suppose similar, and it was 69 BD, which is probably close to $180. i coughed and sat it back down. ;) what one must do for beauty!! when i get my first paycheck, i might just buy it! why not treat myself! :)

l_oman, this morning i was out and drove past some workers. i saw no water, no nothing. they were indians, so i'd bet they're not fasting. i just don't see how they do it. they were standing by a tree in the shade or what little shade there was... i felt sorry for them.

Christopher said...

Honey, just tell me what you are looking for and I can whip up a list of possibilities on a budget that will do you fine!

Olivia said...

Isn't it annoying, though, that your head would have to do something as silly as HURT if you delay eating or skip a meal? Why??? An early warning alarm system I suppose. It's like how a baby cries when it needs something. How else is the body going to signal it's in trouble but by causing discomfort.

Pain is our alarm system!

The Moody Minstrel said...

I thought suffering was the whole point of fasting. It's kind of along the same lines as people that whip, slash, or otherwise torture themselves during certain festive periods, only not as bloody. It's a reaffirmation of the denial of the self for the sake of God.

And here I am talking about it as if I were strong enough to do it myself...

Then again, I should probably get rid of this gut somehow, though the end-of-the-day feasts that seem to be a fixture of Ramadan almost seem to defeat the issue.

Not that I would complain about that...

Salma said...

[response to Queen]

I so agree. So many Muslims who are fasting simply do sleep away the time of reflection etc, so what is the point.

And [Anon- who replied to Queen]
I'm sorry but I do believe that fasting encompasses so many things...relating to those who don't have, showing our servitude to Allah, mental and physical enlightenment.

Before I converted to Islam as a Caribbean girl I fasted with my family for health benefits.

Um Naief, loved reading some of your stuff..very real. My hubby and I are also looking into moving to the Middle East, so I love reading about life there.