Ramadan is finally upon us! The holy month when we spend most of our time thinking about food, talking about food, preparing it and eating it. But there is so much more to Ramadan than that.
Although we try and explain Ramadan to non-Muslims, we tend to get the same questions every year. And while we might find it annoying, we also think it’s probably better than letting our mates think we haven’t eaten in a whole month!
Here are six prepared answers to get you ready for when you are confronted with the most common misconceptions about Ramadan.
1. So you don’t eat for 30 days?
Well, between sunrise and sunset anyway! And no, we can’t drink anything either. But it’s not as hard as it sounds – honestly!
2. Chewing gum must be OK though, right?
Definitely not, if you look on the back of a packet of chewing gum, you will see that it contains flavourings and nutrients. So even though chewing gum is not swallowed, it is still not allowed during fasting.
3. Is fasting even safe?
Fasting is totally safe for people who are healthy and able to do it. Children, the elderly and pregnant women are not meant to fast. If you’re unwell or if you are performing physical work, you are allowed to break your fast, but you must make up for it by fasting on another day.
4. Do you stuff yourself with food after sunset?
Totally depends! Some people indulge to the point of not being able to leave the couch, while others will try to eat balanced meals full of nutrients. Believe it or not, it’s actually difficult to eat as much as you like after a hard day of fasting.
5. What if you accidently eat or drink something during the day?
What happens as an accident does not spoil your fast. It’s sometimes easy to forget – especially when you are tired, but it’s what is in your heart that matters!
6. So why is it that you actually fast during Ramadan?
Ramadan is not just about giving up food, it is about so much more. During Ramadan, we try to be better humans, kinder, more giving and more patient. Ramadan is a constant reminder that God provides us with our basic needs and we are dependent on Him. It strengthens our willpower as well as our family ties, as we all tend to break our fast together and share our food. It is a time for spirituality and worship, shifting the emphasis away from material things in our life and focusing on the positive aspects of our life.