Friday, September 4, 2009

What Is It Like to Live in a Muslim Country During Ramadan?

  • On the way home from work the other day, just as the sun was setting, Brett and Byrad were stopped by the police. Thinking it was a security check, they were surprised when the police officer handed them some dates and water in a very fancy, red bag - doing all they can to help prevent road rage in all those Muslims out driving with low blood sugar at sundown. Drunk driving isn't a factor on Doha's highways, but temperaments can get even more aggressive than usual when you run into a Muslim (he would do the running into part) who is on his 25th straight day of fasting.

  • The malls are filled with "Ramadan Kareem" decorations, complete with crescent moons and stars all over the place - symbols of the faith of Islam. Last night Brett and I were at the largest mall in Doha and found masses of people admiring and taking pictures of a cultural display that had automatronic figures - Arabic men on camels or lounging on shiny pillows in tents and veiled women preforming various laborious tasks in a desert setting. It was as if Disneyland had turned Arabic. The hordes of people taking pictures were incredible. These pictures were taken by my friend Darla (included here with her permission), but had I had my camera, I would have been taking pictures to prove the unbelievable rather than out of admiration.

  • It is difficult to plan around the no eating or drinking rules during day light hours. The other day I picked up Abbey from school and she told me she felt like she was having a low blood sugar. She quickly unzipped her lunch bag and began eating. When I reminded her about Ramadan Abbey's eyes got big and round. She was mortified and quickly covered her mouth and ducked down. In reality, children are exempt from the rule, so technically she could have eaten, but we don't want to take any chances of offending anyone.

So there you have some of my observations of this year's Ramadan. We are only two weeks into it, and I already feel deprived - and I'm not even fasting, except on Fast Fridays that is.


Kristy said...

Heehee! Good stories. You guys are doing a great job of surviving Ramadan!

ljanlyons94 said...

Wow! That's all I can say.

Amy said...

I learn so much from your posts. Now, can they eat ANYTHING during Ramadan? Only dates and water, or are there other foods included? Wow, that would be tough!

Marinda said...

Super interesting. So they expect no one to eat in public during Ramadan? Even those who aren't officially fasting. My husband has been to several Iftars the last few weeks with people he is interviewing for his Ph.D. and half the women in my German class are Muslim, so we've had some interesting discussions about religion lately. Isn't this a fascinating world!

Chad, Kendra, Eva and Kara said...

I would be the first to starve to death...I don't know how they do it.