I am from a hindu-home but was educated in a christian institution. So I am to some extent sufficiently exposed to both hinduism and christianity. But Islam not so much. Although I had partaken several treats and special biriyanis on the special occasion of Id, I did not make/take time to learn more about it, until I received this today. Our latest TDPP- friend, Dr. AK from Dubai sends his ‘Ramadan Mubarik’ wishes.
Dr. AK, many of you know is a recent friend who lives in Dubai with his lovely wife, two cutie-pie-daughters and a son on his way. Today is the first day of the holy-month of ‘Ramadan’, when the muslims observe fast from sunrise to sunset, every day for the whole month. Our friend started his ‘Roza’ (the fast) today, attended full day’s work and then after breaking his fast for today, thoughtfully sends his wishes across the Atlantic. I know most of you reasonable people would have wished him back and ended it there, right? But then the worm inside my head got crawling and I let my thumbs tap-dance over my BB. Between my BB and his Iphone the following transpired. Now, now before you goody-two-shoes complain about sharing a private conversation, I DO have his permission, so sit back and enjoy……
-> What is Roza?
Roza is another word for fast, more precisely a one (day) fast. Eg I would say..I have roza today, means I am fasting today…
-> Can you pick and choose when you want to observe/have Roza?
Cannot choose..its only in the month of ramadan, which happens only once in the muslim calendar year. In this month of ramadan, the fast is started early in the morning…and goes till sundown. The starting point is the morning prayer and the end point is the evening prayer. The timings of the morning and evening prayers of course depends on the sun and moon cycles…for example the time difference between the two will be very long in summer since the day is long and will be shorter in winter since the day is short.. Hence ramadan in summer is very hard, not only is the fast long….but extremely thirty due to the heat:- a true test of discipline.
The calendar is based on the lunar year, has about 354 days and 12 months, each with either 29 or 30 days. The names of the months are Muharram, Safar, Rabiul-Awwal, Rabi-uthani, Jumada al-awwal, Jumada al-thani, Rajab, Sha’ban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Dhil-Q’ada, and Dhil-Hijja.
A person can keep a roza anytime in the whole year, but this month is specifically for rozas continuously for the whole month. Cannot pick and choose in ramadan.
-> What about your wife A? How can she last this long fast especially when she is expecting?
She is in her 7th month and is exempt from roza as per the principles of islam… So are elderly people, sick people and children. For all the rest roza is a must and one of the 5 pillars of islam.
-> What about practices at the office?
In UAE, lunch breaks are between 12-2pm. People take turns to break for lunch as office cannot be shut down. Those observing rozas do take a half hour off to go for prayers etc. Its a very relaxed environment during ramadan.
However, with respect to food, there is strictness when it comes to ramadan. No one should be seen eating, drinking, smoking outdoors during this time. It is considered very, very bad and police can give one a hard time if caught. We have a large pantry in our office with see-through windows: which are covered with newspapers and our non-muslim colleagues can have food in the pantry without disturbing the environment.
-> It is hard enough to fast in that heat, but not even drinking water, must be really hard. Do people get annoyed and lose tempers a lot during this time…you know blood-sugar drops, temper flares…?
Oh yes, they do… But we have about 70 percent expat population so at anytime more than 50 percent of the population may/will not be fasting. But discipline needs to be kept in place for all. Everyone is bound to respect the roza and the person with roza.
and with that, “Assalaamu-alaikum” dear friend and “Ramadan Mubarik” to you and your family too..