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About the fast, first hand

2009-08-27 15:31
Fast features

Ramadaan is the month the Quran (Muslim holy book) was revealed so fasting is like a month-long homage to the revelation.

Fasting starts at sunrise and ends at sunset (we have special calendars ok!)

No compulsory fasting for: kids under 12, pregnant, menstruating or breast-feeding women,  anyone who is ill, old or travelling.

Eating by accident – happens to the best, rinse your mouth and carry on.

No clubs, gossiping, bad behaviour, or sex whilst fasting.

We pray... a lot.

The details...

Eating out

We don't really. There's just not enough time to relax at ifthar (breaking fast). Its eat, pray, eat some more, pray, sleep.

Avoid it. You need to eat right away. Someone once made me wait two hours to finish a dish...I nearly died

Only to places where they provide dates and treats for fasting Muslims when it's time to break your fast.

Favourite foods

I'm beginning to dislike the traditional Cape Malay food. I'm happy with pasta, rice, veggies, soup. Try to avoid red meat. But I absolutely must have some chocolate every night. Helps me sleep ;)

I'll have water, soup, any flavourful but un-spicy food, plus dates and cupcakes or the world will end.

I'll have pancakes, doughnuts and dates. Everything, including water tastes so much better.

(A neat South African tradition is to exchange cake or food with neighbours before breaking fast.)

When someone eats KFC near you

It's fine when she complains about how cold the mash and gravy is.

Ok, you're glad you're not consuming trans fats. Strong odour does make you nauseas sometimes.

Some people might find it hard but I'm totally ok with it.


My TV schedule doesn't change much. I still watch brain-sizzling amounts of it, but tend to fall asleep by 10pm. Zzzzzz….

I take a hiatus from TV, so I'll read instead.

We watch television during the day and at night only after 9 really after the last prayer.

The Veil

I don't wear it normally so choose not to during Ramadan.

I wear a scarf which covers my hair. It reminds me to behave plus it keeps my head warm in winter.

My dress code is a bit more respectable and I occasionally cover my head.

Favourite Ramadan memory

Dunno. I can't remember anything specific.

My five year-old cousin waking up at sunrise and asking why we didn't him wake him for the party.

It's the only time of the year every family member is present at meal times so it brings us closer.

Good things about Ramadan

I like the change of pace – I feel much calmer about the day to day things and I love that I save so much money.

It's my time out, I save loads of money, I'm compassionate. I know how the hungry guy feels.

Sighting the moon on the last day of the holy month at Sea Point.

Rebelling against the tradition

Not a chance. This is how I was raised and it's one of the five pillars of Islam. I don't wanna, you know, go to hell.
Never considered it. You want to fast.

Not, I've learned to love it.

Oddest things people have said to you

Scarf – 'Don't you get hot?' No your body adjusts and you feel strange without it... yes, even in hot weather.

Fasting – 'Aren't you hungry?' Sometimes, but that's the challenge.

"Can I go to mosque with you?"; "Can I come eat at your house?"; and "Where's my boeber?"

The culturally correct thing to say and when

At the start of Ramadaam – 'I wish you well over the Fast'.

At Eid – 'Happy Eid' is fine (cause Eid is a happy occasion) or 'Eid Mubarak' (Eid means festivity in Arabic and Mubarak means blessings so it's commonly used and accepted).

Best advice for non-Muslims on where to get info?

Really people, ask a Muslim, or the internet is a great resource. Go Wiki it.

There's also an interfaith calendar online if you're planning events and you want to be considerate.

What? You don't eat and drink for how many hours? I could never do it! Yeah and I could never wear Manolo Blahniks nor do I want to train and run the Comrades... that I would consider torture. Truth be told... if something is important to you, you just do it. Three Muslims break it down, from individual perspectives.

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