01 September, 2008

Ramadan Kareem ;)

When I was too young to fast my mother/aunt/grandmother would prepare my meals for me and chase me around the house in an attempt to make me eat my lunch/breakfast etc. But once we were outside before iftar I was continuously reminded that I should not eat in public for my actions will insult others who are fasting. If this confuses a child then you can imagine how as an adult I am still perplexed!

Why is it illegal to eat in public during Ramadan? More importantly, is there any mention in the Holy Scriptures regarding this restriction? I have been through the Quran and the Hadith ( sahih bukhari) but I still haven't found any references to this. If I have missed something PLEASE do refer me to the right sections/paragraph/text/book.

Are peoples faith so brittle that they will be tempted to break their fast just because someone else is eating in front of them? Is the mother that prepares lunch and breakfast for her children tempted to break her fast? Definitely not.

Will fasting be an impossible feat to achieve if people ate in public? Then the millions of Muslims in India, Europe, North America who do not have this luxury must have thrown in the towel.

Is the act of consuming food during daylight hours really an attempt to mock a Muslim's efforts and entice them to succumb to their basic instinct to eat?

Or is it a way to control the masses and ensure that Islamic principles are adhered to and that deviance from it does not manifest itself on a macro level?

I am still confused!


Adam said...

that is a good question and I will also like to know the answer to that. I have friend living in the US and they, I feel are in the best position to fast. It make it more worth while when you do that way, it shows how strong your faith is. But yeah I would like to see other peoples views.

Dubai Entrepreneur said...

I had someone ask me what to do about food in the office today. My answer is, business as usual with a bit of discreetness as common courtesy.

The general rule is, act as you would expect people to if you were in their shoes. That goes for just about everything in life.

I don't understand the Gulf and their ban on public food consumption in Ramadan. Mind you, most other Muslim countries don't have such laws.

Bridget Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bridget Jones said...

Elsewhere than in the Middle East, people who are not Muslims eat in front of Muslims, and it is not an issue. It is not illegal to do so, as per Sharia - if I understand correctly from my Muslim buddies.

I believe it is a cultural matter here to discourage eating in front of Muslims. In any case, where I work, they have selected areas where people can eat. Yes I'm talking of Dubai.

My best wishes to all Muslim bloggers for a blessed and pious Ramadaan. May God accept your fast and all your good deeds.

Ramadaan Kareem.

Lirun said...

people are oddly connected to their appetities and even though as jews we only have one main fast for one day (albeit for 26 hours or so) i can testify as to how hard it becomes when others eat in front of your face..

in telaviv proper everything is shut but in yaffo (a mixed arab jewish town forming part of telaviv) cars drive through the streets shops remain open people play loud music in stark contrast to the public's wishes.. i dont blame them for not participating but the lack of respect is more offensive then the challenge to your faith.. the flip side is that when your custom is treated with dignity by outsiders it increases your respect towards them as well..

certainly a dilemma

Lirun said...

and equally - i cant imagine the majority of non muslims here would refrain from eating in public in muslim areas.. as a jew - i think it would be nice if we did honour our minority and act accordingly..

Dubai Entrepreneur said...


That goes without saying. Most non-Muslims have such an attitude. The only thing that bothers me is that they are stripped from the opportunity to do so out of their own accord. Instead of me saying, look, see how I respect your culture and religion and tradition.. it is being imposed on me. So, I don't even have the opportunity to show how respectful I am.

Aside from that, I also think that as long as governments treat their citizens like children, they will continue to act as ones.

I don't think the law is a sinister one. I think it comes from a good place. It's also robbing the Muslims here from experiencing the challenges without being sheltered by an overprotective government.

alexander... said...

Talking of which - did anyone see this story in The National today? Pure insanity with some insane topping...


Proud Emirati said...

oh, some on is confused, DON'T BE ! It doesn't matter whether Islam ask non-Muslims to behave in front the Muslims in Ramadan by not eating. You shouldn't eat because we said so, period ! Beside it isn't like the ban is imposed upon non-Muslims throat where they are too scared to do anything so stop whining.

I don't really care about the boring usual crap which has been mentioned like gazillion times now on how we Muslims should tolerate others eating because it should be a challenge. Why not non-muslims start behaving by not eating? simple as that ! You know its Ramadan so don't spit on our face.

Proud Emirati said...

so again :yawn:

Rose in Dubai said...

Ooooh PE, someone's got a sugar low!! I thought Ramadan was all about thinking good thoughts as well as fasting. Looks like you blew it on day one dude!

samuraisam said...

Comment of the year:
"start behaving by not eating"

I don't really mind the whole not-eating-in-public thing, what irks me is that every single food outlet in the country is shut for anything except take-away, what they can't afford some curtains?

Proud Emirati said...

^^ Why don't the try to modify their way of living according to ours? Why should we be always the one try to accommodate their needs? Most of the stuff here are going the non-Muslim way and you still cannot be considerate for such small thing like not eating? So why afford curtains? They will not die if they ordered take-away would they?

Rose in Dubai, the topic is getting annoying and has been repeated every year. They should be discussing how how fasting is bad for health now! Why do people try instantly to force their way of thinking on our country? If this would blow my fasting then most of the Muslims aren't fasting :D

samuraisam said...

How exactly does this affect you? Do you work at a fast-food restaurant? Unlikely.

The whole point of the curtains is that it would mean trying to respect those who are fasting just out of plain respect and consideration.
I'm pretty sure that any amount of explanation doesn't matter and that you're just trying to be difficult, you're pretty much saying that no one should be able to eat anything in private even if they're not fasting because not-fasting in Ramadan is automagically disrespectful.

Dubai Entrepreneur said...

proud emirati,

you are looking at it all wrong. most people don't need to be told to behave. they just do. forcing them makes them resent that.

but as I said, when the government treats its citizens like children, they tend to act like ones.

pe, thanks for proving my point.

Anonymous said...

Yes, people in the US dont have this luxury. you know why> IT ISNT AN ISLAMIC COUNTRY.

In an islamic country (lets take the KSA as an example) the vast majority of people there are actually from there, and the vast majority are thus muslim. There needs not be this law because it is adhered to by default.

In the UAE, where a massive 80% of the populations ISNT from here, rules must be put in place so that the people who are from here, and muslim, can actually feel like they are in their home MUSLIM country.

This is brought up every year, and as every year, the ONLY comeback that foreigners dont have a come back to is... If you dont like it, leave.

*dances* Oh fook, Im fasting! *refrains from dancing*

Proud emarati, Its OUR fault. we let this country bend over backwards for 30 years, and now when we want things our way, the leeches want to fight back. I hope you and I dont make the same mistakes the past generation did.

Proud Emirati said...

^^ lol @ backwards. I totally agree !

Dubai Entrepreneur anytime buddy, you are no different than all the guys whom we've been debating the same exact topic over and over. Don't you have anything refreshing now? It is getting boring !

samuraisam no, the idea is that they eat publicly while pretend to be respectful by hiding behind curtains, hardly private !

escaped expat said...

The LEECHES? Man, listen here you little twat. Your country can kiss my ass from here all the way around the globe and back. You are the leeches and robbers.

I'm leaving by the end of the month, so see ya later. I encourage all expats to pack up and find a better place to be.. and let these idiots go back to playing with sand like they were 30 years ago. Once a moron always will be, a moron.

Ramadan Kareem.

escaped expat said...

abit, islamic country.. man, go pack up the hookers around your streets and hotels and clubs first before coming talking crap.

sometimes i just can't believe the stuff some of you even think. you have an entire industry based on sex tourism in your so-called-islamic country.

kiss my ass.

Dubai Entrepreneur said...

Ooh.. what happened here? This went from a peaceful innocent question to fight! Calm down people!

I think the hardest thing in Ramadan is not the eating/drinking/smoking part. It's keeping your head above water throughout the day.

Shame on you all!

samuraisam said...

"samuraisam no, the idea is that they eat publicly while pretend to be respectful by hiding behind curtains, hardly priate !"

That doesn't even make sense, if they're eating behind a curtain it ISN'T public. I didn't know you could see through curtains, you should stop wasting time on the internet and use your x-ray vision to fight the terrorists or something.

Steve said...

Alright guys this is a peaceful month, if there anything we all learn from the good things our religions have taught us its being peaceful and respecting eachother. This is just a chat nothing serious so relax. I am pretty sure expats love this country and its cause they do give us the freedome more then any other Middle Eastern country does. I believe that these are the rules in the land just like anyother country and we as expats have to follow them, it has nothing to do with the religion. So please, lets stop fighting with eachother and just enjoy the company.

And Ramadan Kareem to all my muslims friends.

Anonymous said...

Proud Emarati, SHUT UP, you're giving the rest of us a bad name >_>.

Proud Emirati said...

^^ remember weirdo, ur the unsual Emirati girl :P

rosh said...

PE: seriously, you've got a lot of growing upto do. Shame on you to address a girl that way - especially during Ramadan. It' rude, offensive and plain sick! I hope you apologize.

That said, what exactly is your problem - are you unable to READ/COMPREHEND a post and comments within it's context? This debate was going well, till you dropped sh*t all over it. I don't understand, why you've made those comments? Where was the disrespect and bending over backwards, that presumably offended you?

There are many newbies moving into the UAE - LE's post helps many understand how things work in UAE. If you are *BORED* or yawn-ed out on how things work in your country, get some sleep or something.

Now, anyone reading your asinine comments shall have that similar unfortunate perception of Islam/Muslims. Way to go on Day 1!

Anonymous said...

Dana, don't pay attention to this blog hijacker/blog terrorist. He or any other fag don't speak for the Emirati community. They're just seeking attention.

Tainted Female said...

During Ramadhan 8 or 9 years ago, my family and I were visiting Sheikh Buti on his grounds. Being a family that's all about animals, we spent the day viewing his private exotic collection (far nicer and better kept than Dubai Zoo I assure you).

After walking around for an hour or so, he pulled an apple out of his pocket and handed it to my father. Then he offered us all drinks in the middle of the day. We were too shy to accept as we knew he was fasting.

The point is, as far as I know most Muslims really aren't bothered by the whole 'someone eating in front of me while I'm fasting'. Those who do (PE) are overreacting for the sake of being dramatic, or have some serious issues with food and should perhaps attempt fasting during other times of the year to help them get over it.

I hear what you're saying about respect, but then I also know my family didn't take the food or drinks offered to us out of respect. Respect is meant to be given not forced.

Why can't you PE see that enforcing such a law, takes away from non-Muslims offering respect (which only helps solidify the stereotype of all expats being leeches that you and those like you, so love to believe)?

Proud Emirati said...

^^ I agree that am being dramatic. I might've actually done the same if I had non-Muslim guests. I just wanted to emphasis in their language (the rude bloggers here) that no one have a say about this country except its people.

Rosh, I don't really care because the level of ignorance in this blog from people who don't know where to stop need to be addressed. The UAE isn't their country so they should stop whining about how things should change to accommodate their needs. I was trying to be nice when I first joined but it seems as if being rude is the only way to respond to the pathetic whiners here.

As for the weirdo called Dana, she asked me to shutup because am giving Emirati a bad name when in fact she is the one who call herself unusual in her profile, she is a teenager who use the word fuck gazillion times in her blog and she call herself an atheist, now who is the one who should shutup because he is giving Emiratis a bad name?

Kyle said...

Everywhere I looked, it seemed like any other normal day but only after I bumped in here to a bucket load of fundamental hogwash did I realize it was the right wing version of Ramadan.

And you say, it’s only day one?

To all the good people that do what they have to do and not show off, I wish you peace, calm and lots of strength to pull through during this month.

To all the right wingers, I say tone down your rhetoric and behave yourselves unless you want to be doomed to a vortex in hell.

Peace :)

Sheikha M. said...

It's not "illegal" in the sense you will be arrested if you are caught eating/drinking in public. I don't feel that it is "forced" on me at all.

It's a matter of respect. It's a Muslim country, this is part of their religion, deal with it.

Once I had to go to a business meeting and it was arranged to meet at a restaurant during Ramadan in AD. My partner, who is Emirati was going as well.

The four of us there asked if it was alright with him if we had coffee during the meeting and he was fine with this. But we asked first. He knew the meeting was in a restaurant, and was fine about going but none of us wanted to be rude. Not because we felt we were being forced to do something, but because he is a very nice man and why be an ass?

Why do expats have a problem with this? Would you go into a church and spit on the floor?

Mars said...

its very true about respect: you have to give to to receive it. there are also many muslims for whatever reasons cannot fast. Also children, elderly and the sick. Are you saying they have no right? They cannot have access to food should they require it? Where is the charity, thoughtfulness and consideration that we talk about during Ramadan?

Proud Emirati said...

Exactly Sheikha M. some people like the drama and to blow things out of proportion for the sake of whining !

samuraisam said...

Are festivities allowed during ramadan?

Rose in Dubai said...

I love Ramadan. I'm not a Muslim but I love the sense of spirituality that pervades the place. I love the fact that my Muslim friends are so excited by what we not Muslims see as a major challenge. Not eating all day is one thing but not drinking water - that is really hard. But they do it with joy and I admire them for it. I also love the fact that life slows down and at last we get a chance to think a bit about why we are here... on this planet, not just in Dubai.

On the other hand Ramadan always seems to bring out the worst in some people. While they may be fasting for all to see, in their hearts they still hold on to their old prejudices and arrogance and hatreds They are eager to criticize and find fault at every opportunity and to see disrespect when there is none intended. These are the people who wail and scream when a girl goes past wearing a T-shirt with a little too much skin showing for their liking and proclaim to everyone they meet that seeing that woman has tainted their whole Ramadan.

It is so sad that these people are the ones who seem to get all the column space.

I know, and I suspect they know too, that they are not the real Muslims.

One of my good friends told me once that fasting is really only a small part of Ramadan and it is in fact the easiest part. The most difficult part is keeping pure what goes on in your heart, and that is the part God sees.

rosh said...

PE: a blog is almost, a private diary. Often it's an outlet to vent, and share many personal aspects. We all need to vent, don't we. I hope you've been reading her blog - if you haven't you are going to be pretty ashamed of yourself for using those words my friend. I re-read my comment, apologize if I came across harsh (again!)

Sheikha M: personally, spitting in a church is as bad as spitting/sleeping in a mosque. However, where's the "whining" on this post?? Can't a Californian differentiate between a debate and a whine? That said, I agree with everything else you've said. It comes down to respect & uunderstanding toward each other.

Siwash said...

This is an interesting debate that started off with a question about why people should not eat in front of those that are fasting and whether it should be imposed or not. However, the big picture is about the true meaning of fasting. It is about discipline. (Look at my post on the subject).

So, for non-Muslims who want to eat and smoke in front of my face as a way to tease me, thank you because I get rewarded more for that.

And for the non-Muslims who apologize when I see them discreetly trying to eat during daylight hours, then I admire you and respect you. A bigger thank-you to you as you are showing human decency and repect.

And for the all the people who fast during Ramadan, then you should be thankful to the Almighty for giving you the health to be able to fast.

And for Proud Emarati, you should be thankful that you have your loved ones next to you at the breakfast table. I break my fast alone and that is the most difficult for me.

Veiled Muslimah said...

Ramadan kareeeem. :)

Lirun said...

i dont think this is a religious question - i think its a matter of respect

i*maginate said...

This is hardly an "interesting debate" - what is interesting is that this law is debatable, whereas other laws are either non-existent or lack transparency: these are the ones that actually impact the common man.

As soon as the topic of religion is brought up, it becomes a slanging match between you-know -who and they-know-who but the problem is far too deep-rooted for them to understand or admit.

Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

YAY! Go Rosh :D.

and PE, I'm a PERSON, not a nationality, I can believe what I want, say what I want, etc regardless of my nationality. Being an atheist doesn't make me less of an emarati lol.

ANYWAYS. Totally agreeing with Mars.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday, I found myself in a major government office giving a presentation to about 10 young (early 20's) UAE nationals (both men and women), which started with a "Ramadan Kareem" greeting.

Having to talk solidly for an hour took its toll on my throat and at the end of my presentation, one of the ladies very kindly asked me in front of everyone if I would like some water explaining it really wasn't a problem and everyone in the room shook their heads in agreement.

I sincerely thanked them all for their kindness and declined…

Tainted is right. In my experience UAE Nationals and Muslims in general couldn't care less if I, as a non-Muslim, eat or drink in front of them - I just wouldn't do it.

It is and it should be about respect not rules.

Ramadan Kareem to everyone!

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Interesting debate.

I personally don’t get offended at all with eating (or drinking) taking place in front of me. It has nothing to do at all with my appetite or my ability to carry on fasting. (In fact, I find the sight of fat people eating a turn off for my appetite.)

Now the quite unsavory practice while being around fasting Muslim is to smoke. Second hand smoke, aside from its unsettling effect on an empty stomach, literally spoils a Muslim’s fast.

But seriously, let’s all get along, everyone can take a few adjustments on her/his part in the first couple of days and things should be as smooth as ever….

hemlock said...

@siwash: breaking the fast alone, or waking up for sahoor (alone) totally kills the spirit of fasting... for me at least... trust me, it totally sucks...

back home, the whole ritual (it's like a one month long party) adds so much colour to ramadan. :)

special prayers for you dude, hope you get to be with your family soon.

ramadan kareem ya'all!

Fat Guy said...

dubai jazz, hey! fat people need to eat at some point too!

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Fat guy, eat to your heart content. Your unbridled eating reinforces my fasting!


p.s.: no offense to fat people. this is just a joke.

Fat Guy said...

dubai jazz, none taken! I lose my appetite when I see myself in the mirror.. it's a good way to stop eating :)

a question of a question said...

LocalExpat the title of your blog is

"Ramdan Kareem ;)"

whats with the wink?

Anonymous said...

The problem with almost all muslim societies is that we concentrate too much on the eating aspect during the month of Ramadhan. It is not just about eating, it has also to do with controlling your tongue when it comes to interacting with people. It is about prohibition of intimacy with your wife. It is all about patience. The point of the whole exercise is to help cleanse your soul & make you a better person.

But instead, everything seems to revolve around eating & entertainment. The consumption of food dramatically increases when it is supposed to decrease. And the so called artists present their "best" programmes during this month of satan's imprisonement.

Under such circumstances, it is quite natural that some non muslims would accuse us of being hypocrites, which unfortunately is true for most of us muslims.

i*maginate said...

"we concentrate too much on the eating aspect during the month of Ramadhan. It is not just about eating... It is about prohibition of intimacy with your wife"

Wow - fyi women also have urges.

Btw about the 'patience' you refer to, as soon as it's time to break the fast, you'll see a lot of traffic on Jumeirah Beach Road...a lot of bluetoothing going on, and a lot of black tinted windows parked in mysterious places...that's 'patience' for ya - until the next sunset.

Anonymous said...

i*maginate: I apologize, should have used the word "spouse" :-)

Bridget Jones said...

I'll second that Dubai Guy.

Ramadaan Kareem to you my friend. Hope all's well with you. Long time.

Anonymous said...

Bridget Jones: Yes, it has been a long time. All is well by mercy of Almighty, thanks for asking. Hope everything is great on your side too :-)

7abooby said...

PE I second everything that you say, these people who have no respect are not being held here with a gun to their heads are they, they are free to leave ! They like the UAE but want it on their terms its not suprising there are so many expats here.

Bridget Jones said...

Gud to hear all's well with you DG. Things are kewl on my side too, thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Yay! Im a twat! called so by some leeche that is leaving no doubt to leach in Qatar or Kuwait where they now pay more.

Ramadan isnt about food? You sure? You really really sure? cause I mean... you sure?

Wow, you should be given a huge medal and like wads and wads of cash for figuring that one out!

Go listen to this... WHILE YOU ARE FASTING!


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