Posted by: Leap of Faith | September 19, 2006


This weekend is the start of Ramadan. 

What is Ramadan?  I’m actually not sure… all I know is that we can not eat or drink in public (for non-Muslims) especially during a certain time of the day.  I had to do some research and found the following…

“Ramadan is a special month of the year for over one billion Muslims throughout the world. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control. Muslims think of it as a kind of tune-up for their spiritual lives. There are as many meanings of Ramadan as there are Muslims.

The third “pillar” or religious obligation of Islam, fasting has many special benefits. Among these, the most important is that it is a means of learning self-control. Due to the lack of preoccupation with the satisfaction of bodily appetites during the daylight hours of fasting, a measure of ascendancy is given to one’s spiritual nature, which becomes a means of coming closer to God. Ramadan is also a time of intensive worship, reading of the Qur’an, giving charity, purifying one’s behavior, and doing good deeds.

As a secondary goal, fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the less fortunate, and learning to thankfulness and appreciation for all of God’s bounties. Fasting is also beneficial to the health and provides a break in the cycle of rigid habits or overindulgence.

The daily period of fasting starts at the breaking of dawn and ends at the setting of the sun. In between — that is, during the daylight hours — Muslims totally abstain from food, drink, smoking, and marital sex. The usual practice is to have a pre-fast meal (suhoor) before dawn and a post-fast meal (iftar) after sunset.”

I always thought that Islam and Christianity are two totally different ideologies that had nothing in common.  Apparently, after reading the above text, I realized I was wrong. The Ramadan is very similar to our own Lenten season, which begins on ash Wednesday and culminates on Easter Sunday during the Holy Week.  While the reason for the two occassions are different, the overall purpose, which is to encourage people to do inner reflection, have more special times of devotion to God and  learn self-control, are the same. 

I feel embarassed to admit though that unlike the Muslims, who really observe their practices during this special period, I don’t see a lot of Christians doing the same during Lent.  Ngek!  I think I am the President of that organization. While I know that the Lenten season is supposedly a time of reflection and sacrifice, I realized that to me, I associated it with occassional fasting (when convenient), Easter Egg Hunts and summer vacations in the beach. It’s funny to think that we have to move to KSA to realize all these.

While I still don’t know how my body will react to not having food and water during most of the day (God give me strength!), I’m sure I will manage.  The consolation we have is that after the forty or so days of sacrifice, we have a one week vacation from work (actually, it’s nine days if you include the weekends)… yihee!  I knew it was all about the vacation (ooops!). Also, work hours are shortened from 8-5 to 9-3… great right?!

Anyway, I’ll try to keep you posted on how I am surviving. In the meantime, it’s “Boogie Time!”… that’s how people here in the office say “TGIF!”  Hope you enjoy what’s left of your week.







  1. I was surprised that ur office hour there is @ 9-3. In Jeddah it is 10-4. Anyway, I’ll give u some tip which I used to do when I’m still in CBG-East. Make a duplicate of the key in the kitchen & everytime u want to take something go & lock the door from inside. But make sure u let the tea boy out from the kitchen first. Ramadan mubarak!

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