12 September, 2007

Christian Behavior During Ramadan

A Non-Muslim Guide for Respecting Islam during the Holy Month

"The holiest month in the Islamic calendar is the month of Ramadan. Your conduct, as a Non-Muslim and Christian, will dictate how you fare.
Religious tolerance takes on a different meaning for those living outside a country where their religion is in the majority. At certain times, members of a minority religion expose themselves to situations that cause conflicts. At no time is this more insidious than during the holiest month in the Islamic year; the lunar month of Ramadan. Here are a few guidelines for Christians to follow that will reduce the chance of confrontation..........continue."

What would you add?


nick said...

"Christian" behaviour during Ramadan??
So, not Jews and Hindus and Buddhists and Bahais and whathaveyou....
Great for me then, I'll get my lunch box out at noon.

I would add:

Ramadan is a pain in the arse for business.

Tolerance in the way of "When in Rome.." ought to work both ways, and I would urge Muslims in the West to kindly refrain from trying to shove their religion down our throats as little as we Westerners do it here in the UAE.
Perhaps Mr. Hardy would be so kind to publish an article in the Western media to remind Muslims to behave "like Romans"

LDU said...

Good point Nick. If it really is bugging you, then perhaps you should return to your country of origin.

The Stranger said...

I will not comment on the disgustingly intolerant comment by Nick. Oops.

The article's a very nice one.

"Don’t walk around in provocative western clothes. Cities like Dubai and Bahrain are famous for Western dress; however, during Ramadan this attire is insulting. Men should wear pants and a shirt while women should wear either long dresses or a conservative top and pants: no tight pants, sweaters, blouses or short, low cut tops in public."

Hear hear!

Anonymous said...

I have a dozen small boxes of dates purchased from Carrefour.

They come in handy during this festive month.

Last year, we had 4 iftar meals sent over by our neighbor.

Nick ---- I think you forget whose country this is.....

LDU said...

Anon @ 14:10,

It's not a matter of whose country it is.

Nick said: "I would urge Muslims in the West to kindly refrain from trying to shove their religion down our throats as little as we Westerners do it here in the UAE"

I'm not really sure which Muslim population in the West is "trying to shove their religion" down other peoples throats. Perhaps you can elaborate.

I am a Muslim and I'm also a Westerner. We do get our fair share of shit on a daily basis. Muslims who appear Muslim (scarf/beard/robes) are given the shits wherever they go. Dirty looks on the streets, to 'f*ck of muzzies' at a carpark, to random checks at airports, to having their scarves pulled off at malls, and the list goes on.

I'm sure in Dubai non Muslims are free to drink till they're trashed, party as hard as they want, enjoy high corporate positions etc... Muslim's here have the right for their prayers and all, but that comes with huge vandalism. Broken mosque doors. graffiti on the walls, yells of abuse etc...

Nick, I'm sure as a non Muslim in Dubai you are enjoying a much more relaxed life then a Muslim counterpart would in the West. Their next worry is - who the next person to give them the finger is going to be.

Anonymous said...

hear hear to the responses to Nick the Intolerant One.

But I do second his first point: the guide shouldn't be directed at "Christians" as there are many other religious groups here. Plus, there's nothing uniquely "Christian" about wearing revealing clothing or eating lunch.

LDU said...

Yeah, the title could have been worded better but the sentence following does on to mention 'non Muslim'...

nick said...

@ anon at 16:22

How is it intolerant to ask for as much tolerance as one is extending to others?

Muslims in the West have a lot more freedom to exercise and live according to their religion than non muslims have here, or in other islamic countries.
Surely you know what 'Dhimmi' means, and the restrictions that are placed on non muslims under various shari'a law interpretations?

Anonymous said...

Nick,get a life will you, you take every opportunity to attack anything related to Islam and Muslim...if it bothers you so much, go write about it in your little space and avoid triggers like this blog..
You are making a joke of your self and irritating us by your hateful comments.
Ramadan Kareem....

Anonymous said...

Ramadan Mubarak to all Islamic countries, and all Muslims all over the world!

Dynamic Deeds said...
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Dynamic Deeds said...

The wording of the headline is inaccurate... =P it should say NONMUSLIMS in general.

Nick who? LOL! IGNORE ;)

hAPPyyyyyyyy Ramaaaaadan y'aLL!

i*maginate said...

FYI everyone reading this (doesn't seem like many of you have clicked on the link), the post is almost word-for-word taken out of the article, which is written by a freelancer as a guide to Christians, hence the title of the post, which is the title of the linked article!

One would think a post on the UAE Comm website would at least contain a few words from the writer rather than just a "copy & paste job"..but then again, check out the latest post from the same blogger a few posts below...

The writer of the linked article ends "The old adage “When in Rome…” has never had more meaning than for a Christian during Ramadan in an Islamic Country." I believe that was directed at Christians, and said in good faith.

Likewise, Muslims express tolerance at Lent, when Christians give up chocolate.

Ramadan Mubarak to all.

Anonymous said...

non-muslims are guests here-- it is what it is... so "when in rome" works for me

and i certainly decry any non-tolerance shown muslims in the west

but the west does provide inalienable religious freedom, which many muslim countries do not (privileges accorded yes-- but not legal rights)

it is NOT a 2 way street

and again that is what it is

Tim Newman said...

When I lived in Dubai and Kuwait, I came to the conclusion that "respecting" the rules associated with Ramadan was synonymous with "complying with" the same. I saw very little to do with Ramadan that was done on a purely voluntary basis, most of it was done by coercion backed by pain of fines or imprisonment.

Thankfully I no longer have to put up with having somebody's religion forced on me.

fellow atheist said...

I find Ramadan rules/laws in the UAE to be rather painful and not true to the real spirit of the month. No law should tell people when to eat or drink.. or how to even dress.

In most Muslim countries, such rules do not exist. Life is normal. Here, it really feels forced.

And, I agree with nick on the fact that Ramadan is painful for business.

Anonymous said...

"non-muslims are guests here-- it is what it is... so "when in rome" works for me"

not really. there are some of us (A SMALL PART OF US THOUGH) who aren't "guests"

nick said...

To extemporate on my misunderstood comments -and in line with tim newman and fellow atheist's comments -, I want to say that I have absolutely no problem with other fasting or doing whatever they have to do in the name of religion, as long as it does not affect my life.
Why in fuck's name should I refrain - at the pain of punishment, mind you, you P.C. arseholes! - to have my lunch picnic on the beach near my office?
Or enjoy my fist ciggie in the car on the way to work? What is to you, that you have to force me to do as you do, and if I don't I get fined? That's some fucking tolerance!

Avaya said...

In Dubai i have noticed some fellow Muslims follow non-Muslims on purpose when the non-muslims go to eat in a secluded area, then the muslims go "why are you eating in front of us?" this mostly happens in schools/colleges though.

It is about choice. People are free to go where they want, and do what they want. if I am fasting, and someone is in the same room as me and they're eating, you have a choice to stand up and leave. as long as they aren't forcing food into our mouths it's okay. Yes it is tempting, but this is part of the ramadan spirit, we as Muslims should resist the temptation; it's easy to fast when we basically force everyone around us to fast as well, but it becomes that much harder (and that much more of a challenge) to continue fasting when people around you, muslims or non muslims, are eating and drinking. and withstanding that, is much more satisfying in the end.

Anonymous said...

Force orders:

All policemen should treat non-muslims with respect during Ramadan if they are seen eating, drinking or smoking during day time.

Those people should be told to respect the holy month and muslims feelings. Those whom refuse should be sent to court and should be accused of disrespecting the holy month.

Anonymous said...

^^ so shut up all of u and obey the rules

Mikkel Orgzowisky said...

Yes Nick, you've hit the nail on the head.

Where Dubai might order compliance to their Ramadan rules and issue whatever fines they have in place, there are secular democracies who do the same thing.

France ejects pupils who wear religous symbols.

Nick, before having accepted employment in the free market Dubai has to offer, you should have thought of these too.

If it is bothering you so much as a previous commentor mention, then you should leave.

localexpat said...

oh god another bashing contest!

GUYS you are supposed to provided some advice to non-muslims on life during ramadan AND INSTEAD you initiate a nonsensical argument

Brn said...

I don't have a problem with not eating or drinking in front of my Muslim co-workers or the public. But I think that we should be honest and say that as non-Muslims are not being asked to respect Ramadan, they are being forced, under compulsion of law and the threat of penalties, to comply with public fasting.

Now, you can always say as many have done, if we don't like it we can leave. That is true. This is a majority Muslim nation and you get to make the rules.

But I wonder how many of the Muslims who say that also are upset, as Mikkel Orgzowisky mentioned, that France doesn't allow headscarves on Muslims students. If you disagree with that law, like I do, then perhaps you are beginning to understand how the forced compliance makes some non-Muslims feel here.

Veiled Muslimah said...
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Veiled Muslimah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Veiled Muslimah said...

Alhamdulilah this month is finally here. Ramadan Kareem everyone.

May Allah subhanna wa ta'ala accept our prayers and good deeds and allow us to enter paradise. Ameen.

I hope everyone has a blessed Ramadan, don't forget to take advantage of it. Remember, the reward for your good deeds are multiplied in this month.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

“The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘There has come to you Ramadaan, a blessed month. Allaah has made it obligatory on you to fast (this month). During it the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are locked, and the devils are chained up. In it there is a night that is better than a thousand months, and whoever is deprived of its goodness is deprived indeed.’”

(Reported by al-Nisaa'i, 4/129; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/490)

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

"Every good deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied. He will receive ten-fold to seven hundred fold reward for a good deed. Allah the Glorious and Majestic has said 'but fasting is exceptional, for it is done for Me and I will give reward for it, since one abandons his passion and food for My sake. There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts, joy when he breaks it and joy when he meets his Lord; and the breath (of an observer of fast) is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk."

[Related by AI-Bukhari and Muslim].

Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allaah, Allaah will remove his face seventy years’ distance from the Fire.

(Reported by Muslim, 2/808).

small m said...

Unfortunately, Mr "Editor" chose the wrong article to quote from. The author seems to have only a superficial overview ( a Western-seeming one) about Ramadan in Arab countries.

It's good to respect the religious customs of others, and most of us do it all the time; this should not be forced or enforced, but voluntary.

A poster above mentioned that non-Muslims are guests in Muslim countries. This is not quite an accurate statement in the present context. If foreigners, expatriates or itinerant workers are guests, then it would be correct to say that both Muslims and non-Muslims are guests in this country, for example.

And again, going back to the original post, the quoted article appears to be directed at Christians (who are only one of many religious groups--yet the behaviour described is not necessarily exclusive to them) and more importantly is not comprehensive, neither does it address the more significant and pertinent issues. It is superficial and poorly focussed, definitely an unsuitable selection to quote from on this blog, which caters to a wide range of religions and nationalities.

i*gnoramiss said...

"Likewise, Muslims express tolerance at Lent, when Christians give up chocolate."

I presume this is tongue-in-cheek.

nick said...

@ Mikkel Orgzowisky,

...there are secular democracies who do the same thing.
France ejects pupils who wear religous symbols.

I don't agree with that either.It's moronic political correctness - but it is NOT the same thing as you say.

It is not restricted to Muslims in the West. There have been similar cases where people were asked to refrain from wearing a cross or kippa in public positions or occasions, lest they "offend" other beliefs.

Secularism doesn't mean prohibition of practicing one's religion. It means that religious doctrine or practice, or non-practice, is not enforcable by the law.

What we see here is exactly the opposite of secularism - the beliefs of one religious group impeding the lives of other people.
Because, believe it or not, eating and smoking when I want is part of my beliefs.

Mikkel Orgzowisky said...

Nick an others,

What about when Christmas and Easter are public holidays in Western Christian majority nations? Schools, Universities, Workplaces and other Public institutions cease to function because Christian ceremonies are made public holidays. This is imposed on Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, Buddhist, Bahai and every other non Christian citizen of the state too.

If you are so highly critical of Dubai and the Gulf for forcing Ramadan onto non Muslim residents, then be equally critical of the West.

Can you equally condemn these Western practices too? Just to keep the standard single rather than double.

hmmmm.... said...

I would add:

Another aspect of Ramadan, sometimes ignored, is that it is a month of conspicuous consumption.

Ramadan in the UAE is a time of fasting and feasting. Preparations begin well in advance, as families begin planning the many culinary delights that will be produced during this special month. The food-buying frenzy reached a peak at the advent of Ramadan, and will continue unabated during this holy month, as supermarkets rake in record profits.

Tables will be lavishly laden with dishes...5-star hotels will put up "Iftar Tents", and an orgy of consumption will be repeated daily after sunset...tonnes of food worth millions of dirhams will be left over after the feasting, and consigned to the garbage bins...

All sorts of establishments will remain open till late in the night to cater to the big spenders....gifts will be exchanged...people with 5 luxury cars in their garages will be gifted even more luxury cars...truly, this is a very special month.

Finally, when the month is over, things will return to normal...

hmmm... said...

Mikkel Orgzowisky:

You've got a brilliant point there!

"What about when Christmas and Easter are public holidays in Western Christian majority nations? Schools, Universities, Workplaces and other Public institutions cease to function..."

I say: Not only should the above holidays be withdrawn, because as you correctly say, it is unfair to other religious groups, but...

"just to keep the standard single, rather than double"

...holidays like Eid, Prophet's Birthday, Prophet's Ascension etc should also be withdrawn in countries where the resident population is not 100% Muslim.

This is marvellous too:

"If you are so highly critical of Dubai and the Gulf for forcing Ramadan onto non Muslim residents, then be equally critical of the West..."

The solution to this is very simple: let's just force February onto them...then someone else can impose January on somebody else, while yet another country forces September onto a bunch of other people...

Editor said...

Wishing you all the blessings and forgiveness in the great holy month of Ramadan! Ramadan Kareem every one!

fellow atheist said...

What Muslims in the Gulf who agree with legally enforcing the no-food-no-drink in public policy don't realize is that this does more damage to the image and perception of Islam than they would think.

The average non-Muslim will find this rather backwardly and even detestable. It is going to be a cited example of how Muslim countries are idiotic. (Wrong or right, that's irrelevant)

Whereas, when things are done voluntarily, people become actually curious. People will automatically not want to indulge in their lunch in front of co-workers who are fasting, out of courtesy and respect to their colleagues.

Some will even want to fast and try it out themselves.

You know what, I give up. You can't help those who don't want to be helped.

Emirati said...

Ramadan Kareem.

I dont personally think that eating in public should be something which is dealt with by a fine. We have diabetics, people who need to eat, etc.

I think dirty stares are quite enough to get people to comply with a social norm.

That being said, nick you should maybe have a bit of a heart and be a considerate person towards other muslims and just not eat outside on the park bench.

But then again, you sound like a complete asshole, so why waste my breath right ?

Anonymous said...

know ur place and obay

rosh said...

Two cents:

Ramadan fasting is not, just a law, but a significant part of the customs & culture of the UAE. I feel, it's based more on respect towards souls who fast, than prohibiting those who don't.

Being a Christian, growing up,in the UAE - I've never felt, compelled or "forced" during Ramadan. It's not asking much to avoid eating or drinking in public, but in the comforts of your home/office. My brother, fasts in Ramadan partly in respect for his fiance, a fasting Muslim.

Working & living in North America, I never lunch or sip coffee in front of a fasting Muslim colleague. It's out of respect towards the other being, who is fasting.

UAE is most peaceful during the Ramadan days, it's serene and beautiful, followed by Eid holidays - take joy in being part of this atmosphere, fully realizing it's not similar to ways of working in other nations. However, understanding should go both ways, in that, fasting Muslims, should also realize practicalities of folks who've just moved into the UAE.

I agree with Emi, wrt a fine - and do away with courts & jail time.

Ramadan Kareem to all.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

God bless you Rosh, I am glad you are here!

Kyle said...

It’s my first Ramadan here in the Emirates.

First day update; we’ve got a smoke room, and a dining room and a whole load of Moslem guys working with us. Today, as usual, we smoked, sipped our decafs and chatted with our Moslem buddies that dropped in for a chat. You know what, they’re pretty cool, cool as in, they didn’t give a two bit whether we blew smoke on their faces or sipped our decafs right in their faces. I reckon, its what they do best during this month and that is, fast without an attitude and not have a problem with their non-Moslem co-workers.

Compared to what I’ve experienced today, this label’s comments are contrary to the point of being pathetic. I guess everybody that posts here is like more holier than thou, superficially, instead of maintaining a ‘just be’ attitude.

LDU said...

How very infantile was hmmm's reply to Micahel Orgziwosky. Is that what you call a reply. God, you and Nick are like total tools.

Anonymous said...

To the pious and devout:

Pls understand the ppl in the west are not religious they are rational. Christmas is no longer a religious occassion. It has become a consumer fest. Businesses generate max sales during this period. Hence is would be quite difficult for the general ppl from the west to understand the devotion and committment show by Muslims. Ramadan Kareem!

Brn said...

To the reasonable and rational:

Pls understand the ppl in the east are not rational they are religious. Understanding arguments for balance and fairness require reason. Hence is would be quite difficult for the general ppl from the east to understand logical arguments presented by westerners.

Pretty stupid and insulting, huh?

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Ramadan is supposed to be a month of compassion and empathy, 90% of Mulsims do fast during this month. So being considerate for their feelings has nothing to do with law abidance, it's purely a matter of taste and palate...

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