Miss Mabrouk of Egypt

Check the archives too - a lot of good stuff to enjoy. Me myself? Off to new adventures in the blogosphere, if time permits.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ramadan Karim

Yesterday, the learned men with long beards at prestigious religious authorities in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Jerusalem said the crescent moon was sighted after sunset, signaling the start of the month of Ramadan on 4 October. So for 29 or 30 consecutive days our pious people will fast and pray and hope that observing God's call will bring them closer to bliss. The great benefit is that all good-doing is multiplied during Ramadan, which hopefully sets the score right before the final day.

I have always loved Ramadan, although I have to admit that fourteen days would be enough. I don’t think God (or if I’m allowed to be blasphemous, Mohammed) took into consideration that 1426 years on we would live a very hectic life. Or perhaps that just what he did, because changing the priorities away from the daily stress of working and living towards spirituality can only benefit our stressed minds.

In particular, I’m looking forward to all great dinners. I can even put up with the sloppy table manner of those who haven’t eaten in the whole day just to get my share of the excesses. Not all restaurants can provide the best cooking for so many diners at one given moment (the sunset) but in general, the chefs have put so much love in their work that it is worth going out. Or is it just because I’m starving? Not that I am fasting every day (ahem) but it can indeed be a bit tricky to get your meals when you want them when no one else is inclined to eat during certain hours. I want to thank the long-beards at our religious high-seat, Al-Azhar, for not issuing fatwas against take-away services during Ramadan.

What I can’t tolerate though is invitations to families who insist keeping the telly on during dinner. Always at high volume so no one should miss a line spoken in the latest soap drama because the kids are loud. Unfortunately, this is the way most people do it. So if I don’t answer the phone when you are about to invite me – this is a hint why. Let’s be friends anyway – after Ramadan.

In the next few days, I’ll stay clear from human beings while their bodies are adjusting to the new routine. The rows and fights over the silliest things that are turning perfectly sensible people into miniature monsters these days I can be without. It is part of the test. Within a week their levels of blood sugar will be more balanced, and so will their temper.

About two weeks from now I’ll really start feeling I’m on a month long holiday. That’s when everybody has completely given up on doing anything of importance. That’s when staying up all night is the norm, just as appearing at work at 11 am and departure again at 1:30 pm to avoid the worst traffic. It is when our minds are no longer focused on work and careers and we have instead become used to meeting our friends just about every evening and as often as we like. It is a mind-soothing experience. And it is why Ramadan is so great; it is for our spirits and if I feel so good without feeling overly obliged to observe daily prayers, I can only imagine the sense of refreshment among those who are dedicating themselves to this form of religious meditation. And if I’ve done a lot of wrongs, let us hope they sometimes are including me and everybody else in their prayers. Ramadan Karim, everyone!

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