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New to living in a Muslim country? Ramadan etiquette
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3957
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:22 am    Post subject: New to living in a Muslim country? Ramadan etiquette Reply with quote

For most Muslims, Ramadan started today, August 1, and will go until August 30. If you're slated to arrive in a Muslim country this month and it's your first time in the region, I suggest you read up.

Traveling during Ramadan
(Source: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/be-a-responsible-tourist/travelling-during-ramadan)

Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims. You should be aware that levels of observance of Ramadan will vary in different countries and cultures but most Muslims will conform to some extent with the requirements of the fast - that they fast between dawn and sunset. This means they canít eat, drink, smoke or even chew gum during daylight hours. Muslims use this time of abstention for prayer, contemplation and charitable work.

If youíre travelling to a Muslim country during Ramadan, you should be sensitive to the fast:

* Avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public Ė many people will understand that you arenít under the same obligation to fast but will appreciate your awareness.
* In some Muslim countries, itís actually illegal to eat and drink in daylight during Ramadan.
* Some restaurants will close or operate amended opening hours during Ramadan.
* Restaurants that cater to tourists should open as usual but hotels will sometimes use screens to keep western diners sectioned off from Islamic guests.
* Business hours may become shorter in the day.

Itís not impossible to travel or do business in Islamic countries during Ramadan, but different rules do apply. Seek local advice on arrival either from your tour guide, hotel or business contacts.

Iftar Ė breaking the fast: Iftar is the time each day when the fast is broken and a meal is taken with family and friends. During Iftar there is additional pressure on taxis and other public transport, so itís a good idea to time your movements around avoiding having to travel at this time.

Eid Ė the end of the fast: As the end of Ramadan approaches, there is normally a lot of activity as people traditionally visit families to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, the three-day festival marking the end of the fast. You should plan accordingly if youíre planning to travel at this time.

See also http://www.arabianbusiness.com/ramadan-etiquette-413304.html?view=profile&itemid=413290
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It's Scary!



Joined: 17 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's especially tough here in Tejas as the sun doesn't leave the sky until 9 p.m. That means about 14 hours of fasting!

That's a LOT of fasting!
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So true. Fasting for Ramadan this year must be a challenge for Muslims in the US because the days are long and super hot.

When I was in Dubai, I wondered how those poor Muslim laborers managed as they toiled away in the hot sun, and it wasn't even Ramadan at the time! Fasting is exempted for pregnant/nursing moms, preadolescent children, the mentally disabled, the elderly, and those who are ill or suffer from a chronic disease, but I don't know about those who have to work outside under a boiling sun. I hope they allow themselves some water during the day. However, I believe that if one is able-bodied but refrains from fasting, then they're required to do charitable work for each day they don't fast.

The place I taught at last year in Yemen adjusted the class schedules during Ramadan. Classes ran early in the morning until noon and after a long break during the day, resumed at 8:00pm -- well after sunset -- until midnight. My evening students were either hyped up on a sugar high or sloggy since they'd just eaten a large meal and lots of sweets after their fast.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the Middle East, the schedules get turned around and they pretty much sleep through most of the day and eat all night. Food shopping expenses for the average ME family doubles at Ramadhan and most people gain weight. (very similar to our month of December actually)

My Muslim friends in the US didn't use the sun to time the fast. They told me that there was a dispensation (not sure of what term it would be in Arabic... perhaps a Fatwa) that they could fast at Saudi Arabia time. The mosque provided them with the timings and Iftar started with the American sun high in the sky.

Seemed eminently sensible to me... especially as those outside of Muslim countries have to maintain "normal" working hours.

VS
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teechar



Joined: 24 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's interesting VS. None of my Muslim friends fast according to Saudi time. It really seems to be a cop out since most of the time fasting would actually be while one was asleep. I've never heard of that before.
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It's Scary!



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They told me that there was a dispensation (not sure of what term it would be in Arabic... perhaps a Fatwa) that they could fast at Saudi Arabia time.

I wonder if there would be a similar dispensation if, say, a Muslim astronaut were on Mars? Just pray in the direction of Earth? Hmmm...

It's Silly!
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lynnknows



Joined: 17 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW, I never in all my 40something years heard that one VS. I am not saying its not true. I am just wondering where a person would even get such a thought.

Just for information sake. YOu fast according to the place you live NOT Saudi. Many people start their fast when saudi does, meaning the day they start. However, you have to fast from Fajr to Maghrib YOUR own time.

Ramadan is not suppose to be easy. What they do in the Gulf is not whats suppose to happen. One of the reasons for fasting is to understand the people that go without food on a daily basis. Not eat all night and gain weight. The free time during the day and night is SUPPOSE to be spent in the Masjid praying and at home reading Quran and asking Allah for forgiveness. People I know get less sleep during Ramadan not more. We are up praying, reading a juz of Quran a day, and then making duaa, praying for forgivness and other things, not sleeping. I can tell you these past few days I have not gone to bed before fajr and I am up by 7 or 8am.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
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Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear lynnknows,

Not very surprising in a country where many of the (male) citizens actually believe that doing sinful things OUTSIDE of Saudi isn't really a sin.

Moreover, when it's Ramadan in Saudi, day becomes night and vice versa. Many sleep as much as possible during the daylight fasting and stay up all night eating. A lot of Saudis actually GAIN wight during "the fasting month," not, I think, what the Prophet intended.
Regards,
John
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

teechar wrote:
That's interesting VS. None of my Muslim friends fast according to Saudi time. It really seems to be a cop out since most of the time fasting would actually be while one was asleep. I've never heard of that before.

As I said, they were provided with the "times" by the mosque in Northern Virginia and used the sunset "time" in Saudi... not the actual physical sunset in Saudi. Thus they fasted all day just as would be normal. Thus, not a "cop-out" at all. BTW, this is the major mosque in NoVa... that has been in new quite often.

VS
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It's Scary!



Joined: 17 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have NO doubts that VS is speaking the, ahem, gospel truth. Saudi has, for decades, twisted truth and logic to make their people happy. Remember...nationals are held to a much different and lower standard than us kawajah who, of course, are only there to rob them of their riches!

It's Scary!
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lynnknows



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Jon,

You are VERY RIGHT!! However, we can not base Islam on the things Saudis do , whats done in Saudi or any other country. I have found that most times they have mixed cultural traditions up with Isam that they dont know one from the other anymore.

I can make a long list of things done in Saudi that are not inline with Islam but they do them to perserve their Islamic tradition. When people quicly yell abotu something a person did and then say well it must be right becasue they are from Saudi or some other Muslim country it makes me SMH
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Middle East Beast



Joined: 05 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lynnknows wrote:
I can make a long list of things done in Saudi that are not inline with Islam but they do them to perserve their Islamic tradition.


HUH??? Confused

MEB Cool
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lynnknows



Joined: 17 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Middle East Beast wrote:
lynnknows wrote:
I can make a long list of things done in Saudi that are not inline with Islam but they do them to perserve their Islamic tradition.


HUH??? Confused

MEB Cool


What I mean is this. They do things land say its because of Islam but its not. Am example is not allowing women to drive, and allowing strange men to be drivers of nonrelated women, this is not an Islamic rule but they say they are doing it to stay in line with islamic traditions.
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teechar



Joined: 24 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What you said initially, VS, was not as clear. Your saying that the sun "was high in the sky" at iftar only made it less clear because that would be unlikely to happen when the sunset time in Saudi would be in the evening when the sun is not high in the sky. The clarification was needed and appreciated.

The Muslims I know are not from Saudi and none of them follow this dispensation, which I still think is re-writing how it is supposed to be done. It seems pointless to ignore the guidelines when you are essentially only saving yourself one hour of fasting and setting your community aside from non-Saudi Muslims. It doesn't sound like it would make things easier to a degree that would be worth not being able to share iftar and then Eid with all non-Saudi Muslims.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear lynnknows,

" . . . but they do them to perserve their Islamic tradition."

" . . . is not allowing women to drive, and allowing strange men to be drivers of nonrelated women, this is not an Islamic rule but they say they are doing it to stay in line with islamic traditions."

I think the difficulty is in your calling them "Islamic traditions." If they are "Islamic traditions," why would they be practiced ONLY in Saudi and not in any other Islamic countries? I mean, even in Afghanistan women can drive. I see them as being more "cultural/societal/tribal traditions."

Regards,
John
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