As anyone who’s ever observed Ramadan in the UK will tell you, the holy month tends to inspire a lot of questions. By that, we mean questions asked by non-Muslim friends, colleagues, strangers or anyone fascinated by the details of fasting.
For the most part, these questions are well meaning and borne out of curiosity. But if they ever get a bit much, just remember why we observe Ramadan in the first place: to bring ourselves closer to God.
Which, all things considered, is a pretty good reason to endure the inquiries – some of which we have listed below, starting with a classic:
“When does it start?”
The age old question which cannot be answered at all points during the year. Thus leading to…
“How do you not know when it starts?”
Because it is based off the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar.
“What is a lunar calendar?”
At this point, it’s tempting to shout ‘THE MOON’ then leg it, but hopefully your curious pal will have relented on this issue by now. Inevitably, they will then move on to the most pressing question about the fast:
“Not even water?”
Yes. We cannot even drink water during Ramadan.
“How will you survive without water?”
Well, we can drink H2O to our heart’s content when the sun is down. Your friend’s worries soothed, they might hit you with this:
“But still, a whole month without food? Wow.”
Thanks. But again, we can eat food when the sun is down. In fact, we have two main meals each night, the Iftar at sundown and the Suhoor just before sunrise. Even when this has been explained, another question can follow. Personally, it’s one of our faves.
“So, are you gonna fast the whole month?”
“At least you will lose weight.”
Contrary to all logic, fasting for 18 hours is not great for your waistline. During Ramadan, you tend to get all your calories in a short burst, meaning your body stores most of them as fat to give you the greatest chance of getting through the day. This is why all the weight-loss experts reading will already know that fat-shredding diets require sensible meals at regular intervals.
However, if you can’t be bothered to explain this, your friend might say this:
“Maybe I should fast.”
Go for it. But fasting won’t make you as ripped as Zac Efron. Still, you’ve gotta love this odd form of support. IN FACT, we’re asking our Snapchat followers to convince a non-Muslim mate to do one fast for Ramadan. If they do, be sure to snap a pic of their #struggle and send it to us (we’re sc:@ummahsonic). But even if they don’t agree to fast, they’ll probably still offer a few insights on their previous forays into self-control…
“I totally know your pain, I mean I did dry January.”
Good for you fam, but I do dry LIFE.
“It’s like the time I gave up chocolate for Lent.”
Well, we guess the principles of self-denial and gratitude are on a par, but fasting for Ramadan is slightly more, well, difficult than ditching sweets for Lent. Even so, we’ve previously written about the similarities between Ramadan and Lent, so go and check them out.
We can’t think of many more examples, but a friend of the Ummahsonic team told us that they were once asked this:
“When does the month end?”
A month after it starts.
Whatever the question, no matter how basic or obvious, take it as a chance to tell people about our wonderful faith. After all, there’s so much more to Ramadan than just the fast.