Gransnet forums


Ramadan Question

(36 Posts)
Anne58 Wed 22-Aug-12 13:42:39

I know that during Ramadan (which has recently ended) the rule is that nothing can be eaten or drunk between sunrise and sunset, but from what age does it apply?

Surely one couldn't expect littlies to go without for that length of time, and what about breastfeeding mothers who need to keep up a reasonable intake for their milk?

JO4 Wed 22-Aug-12 13:48:41

looks like pregnant women and children under 12 are exempt

jeni Wed 22-Aug-12 13:48:50

Breast feeding mothers, I'll people, diabetics and anyone whom a doctor has advised should not fast, should be given an exemption by their iman, is what I was told by one of our Moslem interpreters!

Joan Wed 22-Aug-12 14:13:54

This reminds me of when I was a wages clerk at a Jewish-owned clothing firm many years ago, in Leeds. Many seamstresses were Muslims, and the firm set aside easy light work for them to do during Ramadan.

This is one aspect of fasting that should not be ignored - people need to take it easy when they fast.

I feel sorry for the people, often the mums, who do the cooking. While you are hungry and thirsty you have to prepare the food in readiness for sunset! Sorry, but I would not have the willpower to stop myself from nibbling! I'd be a very bad Muslim.

vampirequeen Wed 22-Aug-12 14:29:31

Some people fast full time, others only on certain days and some not at all. Where I worked the children would start to fast when they were 10 years old but it wasn't expected that they would do without water or that they would fast every day. No one criticised them if they found it too difficult. If a child stayed for an after school club then the mother gave the teacher a small pack up for the child with the time of sunset written on it so that the child could break fast rather than have to wait until they got home.

The sick, elderly or pregnant don't have to fast. It's accepted that fasting is so challenging to the body that you have to be fit to do it.

Annobel Wed 22-Aug-12 14:52:47

A Muslim girl we once had on work experience had a blinding headache and clearly was unwell, but she refused our offers of painkillers because it was Ramadan. I suspect she was making an overly strict interpretation of the rules.

Lilygran Wed 22-Aug-12 15:55:14

If you can't fast for a legitimate reason, you can provide charity instead. One of the Olympic athletes this year fed, I think it was 100, poor people by teaming up with a charity working with the homeless. He couldn't fast while he was training.

JessM Wed 22-Aug-12 15:55:33

I believe nursing mothers exempt, but interpretation varies. There are a lot of different shades - just as there is with Christianity.
i was once in the dentist and a young man said he could not have treatment in ramadan - even dental mouthwash was not allowed to pass his lips!
As a school governor i was always pleased when it coincided with school holidays (like this year) - kids not on top form in school, and then wanting 2 days off for EID. (attendance stats suffer if you have say 1/4 muslim)
It is hard on the women when it falls in the summer though - unlike the middle east where they do not have our long days, in Uk they have to get up about 3.30 to make breakfast and then they cannot break their fast until after sunset - at which point, large meal and lots of washing up! Fall into bed about midnight, and before they know it, off they go again. I worked with someone who was shattered throughout ramadan for this reason.

Bags Wed 22-Aug-12 15:59:20

How does it work if you live in the far north if Ramadan happens during the time when the sun never sets? Are you allowed to use Mecca time?

Anne58 Wed 22-Aug-12 20:08:07

Good question, Bags!

JessM Wed 22-Aug-12 20:20:15

I guess Muslims in the arctic circle have to have some special dispensation from their mullah's. Who also get to say when it starts and ends, based on sightings of moon. Trust you to think of that Bags. I wonder if there are any muslims in the arctic circle...

jeni Wed 22-Aug-12 20:26:32


nanaej Wed 22-Aug-12 20:59:39

Yes Muslims do use Mecca time if they live in areas of extended /reduced daylight!

Bags Wed 22-Aug-12 21:15:32

There's at least one, jess, in the Norwegian part.

Joan Thu 23-Aug-12 06:20:43

I used to work with an Asian catholic girl from Malaysia. She had previously worked in a Muslim area, as an insurance assessor before marrying an Australian serviceman and moving to Queensland. Anyway, during Ramadan in Malaysia she sat down on a park bench to eat her lunchtime sandwiches and got hauled off to jail by the cops for eating during the fast!! She had no means on her of proving she was not a Muslim, and it took ages for a family member to come and rescue her. Very upsetting!

My personal view is that any religion or religious practice that has to be enforced rather than done freely, is worthless.

As an atheist I do not comprehend religious belief, but I would never try to take away anyone's rights to worship, but in the same vein I feel everyone should have the right to ignore it all. In other words, even if my workmate HAD been a Muslim they had no right to arrest her imho.

Bags Thu 23-Aug-12 07:26:41

I agree, joan. It will seem as if I'm reducing things to the ridiculous when I say imagine arresting someone for eating a pastie out of a paper bag, but my purpose in doing that is to reduce the thing to its bare essentials. Religious rules are purely and simply about controlling people and preventing (usually – how many religious rules are 'ennabling'?) them from doing perfectly harmless things or restricting their freedom to act in ways they deem to be best for them.

Lilygran Thu 23-Aug-12 08:54:41

I believe you can be arrested in Singapore for dropping chewing gum on the street. This isn't for a religious reason but just because the Singaporean government thinks making anti-social activity against the law is a way of repressing it. Think ASBO. In this country you can lose your job for talking about Christianity to a colleague and in France you can lose your job if you wear a headscarf. Secular rules are purely and simply about controlling people and preventing them from doing many harmless things which society frowns on at the moment.

Annobel Thu 23-Aug-12 09:02:15

I don't think chewing gum is available in Singapore! I wish it was had never been invented. Just look down at any pavement in this country and see the blobs ground into the concrete and so very difficult to remove.

absentgrana Thu 23-Aug-12 09:08:53

Lilygran The Singapore chewing gum law was brought in because of the nastiness of old gum on the pavements and the expense of cleaning it off. Frankly, I should like to see such a law here. However, it actually resulted in there being chewing gum smugglers! That law no longer exists in Singapore.

It depends how you talk about Christianity – or any other religion – to a work colleague. Evangelism in the workplace is not and shouldn't be acceptable.

France has indeed introduced what are clearly anti-Muslim laws however much they try to disguise the fact. But it is the niqab not the headscarf that's the issue.

Most secular laws are concerned with the good of society: anti theft, rape, assault, murder, fraud, etc; pro education, healthcare, traffic safety etc. There don't seem to be secular laws about when you may copulate (expect to protect children), what foodstuffs you can eat, when you can eat them, etc.

Lilygran Thu 23-Aug-12 09:28:21

Absent - most secular laws (and religious laws) are based on controlling what society thinks is likely to cause disruption. There may not be secular laws controlling copulation in this country (not sure that's true!) but there certainly are elsewhere. It's OK to ban women from wearing the niqab, then?

Greatnan Thu 23-Aug-12 09:30:36

The law legalising homosexual acts between consenting adults was a huge step forward, even if the age of consent was still higher than that for hetrosexuals.
I don't know of any case where a person has lost their job for merely talking about Christianity at work - perhaps it was a case of someone in a position of power trying to force their opinion on someone else. I know I would be extremely annoyed if I were in hospital and any medical professional tried to convert me! I was once asked my religion by a hospital clerk and when I said 'None' she said she would put C of E. She could not understand why I was annoyed.

absentgrana Thu 23-Aug-12 09:37:44

I was talking about the UK with those examples. There are certainly laws in some states of America where particular, but not uncommon sexual acts between consenting heterosexual adults are classed as illegal.

Of course secular laws are concerned with not disrupting society; they are also concerned with facilitating the smooth running of it. That doesn't mean that all laws are fair or even well written. Lots of religious laws – circumcision, not eating crab, not using contraception, for example – do neither of these things.

Joan Thu 23-Aug-12 09:56:15

I would get annoyed if someone talked religion at work, but I would not complain officially. I'd just tell the person to leave it alone.

Lilygran Thu 23-Aug-12 10:21:10

I like your attitude, Joan! Greatnan suppose it wasn't the situation you describe? And why does religion matter so much, if it doesn't matter?

Greatnan Thu 23-Aug-12 10:28:31

Lily, perhaps you could explain the circumstances so we can judge for ourselves? Freedom matters, which includes my freedom not to be subjected to other people's religious beliefs against my wishes. I am afraid I do not see religion as a harmless delusion - I see great injury being caused to millions worldwide in the name of it. Perhaps the people currently in charge of these religions are not acting according to the tenets of the founder, but the fact remains that religion is being used as the excuse for so much harm.