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As Long as We Remember...

May 24, 2017

Ramadan and Fasting

Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – Ramadan starts on Friday. It really doesn't affect me or my wife because I need to take medication and water during the day. This exempts me from fasting.


However, it is a time where everyone else gets grouchy because they must wait until sundown to break their fast. It only bothers me because I have to go into town and buy the pizza and burgers we usually have on Friday and bring them home.


There is no eating in public. Besides, because we know so many people, we would definitely get caught. The religious police are not a big factor here, but over on the Peninsula (the western shore) they are quite savage.


My problem is Dzul. Many of the people ask him if he will fast this year. He really doesn't know what fasting is because we have not been bombarding him with Islamic theory. We have definitely been watching his water intake and when his urine is slightly off color, we pump him full of liquids.


Hydration is very important here, what with the weather. Most people carry a bottle of water with them wherever they go, including us, but most times I forget and have to buy some at a small store.


I don't want Dzul fasting. This is because of the development of the brain which requires vast amount of water and nutrients. The mind will continue along its path until he reaches his early 20's and then decline when they get to be my age. Everybody needs as many brain cells as they can get. For the continued proper growth of the brain, especially at an early age, I feel it is very important not to fast.


The social pressure can be intense. Most, if not all, of his Muslim friend will fast. The taxi driver asked him if he will not partake of water and food for 12 straight hours. His cousins will all fast. It is much easier on my part to have him lie about fasting and while taking in water.


Of course, this leads to other problems like “lying is okay” when we try to stop him from it. Good lord, he is only six years old!


I tried to get Dzul out of fasting by reading the Qur'an. "O believers! Fasting is enjoined upon you, as it was enjoined upon those before you, so that you remain conscious of God!" (Surah Al-Baqarah, 183)


Nope. The only way you can get out of fasting is if you are travelling or sick. If nothing else, he is going to be one ill travelling man!


I can see how it came about. The Arabs laid around their tents during the hot desert days and then got on their camels and travelled by night. It wasn't much of a problem for them to fast. They filled themselves up with food at night and slept all day.


I can foresee some massive battle coming up on Dzul's fasting, including arguments from Dzul. Classic case of religion vs. science.


Wish me luck!


...Life is good. . . . .


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