Today is the fourth day of the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan.
During the Month of Ramadan, for the uniniated amongst you, Muslims are supposed to Fast (refrain from eating/drinking) from dawn until sunset. Having being raised a Muslim, I have always been told that Ramadan is not only about Fasting from food and drink but vices in general.
For Muslims, Ramadan is a time of spirituality. (Yeah, right… but I’ll get to that later).
Today, I am not Fasting. I’m not doing this to make a statement or prove a point (though I have to admit that since I’m a Quasi-Agnostic – still in transition – the social pressure on me to fast is just too great, and I know I’ll get a bitch of a headache if I go around explaining and arguing).
No, I’m not fasting because I’m ill and I’m taking medication. Religion-wise, I’m safe. SupraNatural being knows my body feels like it’s about to crumble to pieces and the anti-biotics and painkillers I’m gulping down every six hours don’t contribute to my regaining my body strength or even presence of mind.
I let it be known that I am not fasting today at the office. I had to. I needed to eat and drink so as not to collapse from the exhaustion my body feels. I did not have except two cigarettes, a cup of tea and two pieces of toast (though in 30 minutes when all the Egyptians are gone I will go down and buy me some McDonalds). Still, when I was about to leave the office (to have my second smoke in the building stairwell), the Security Guy (of “The Jews” fame) asked me how I was dealing with Ramadan today (his shift had just started – he didn’t know).
Obviously, I told him I wasn’t fasting… because I was ill. He gave me this look and said:
“Ana mesh mesada2 ennak mesh sayem. Mesh Faisal el maysomsh.” [Trans: I cannot believe that you are not Fasting.It would not have been expected of Faisal (me) not to Fast.]
Why’d he have to go and say something like that? What really annoyed me was my response… I actually stood there and attempted to explain to the man why I wasn’t fasting. I gave him excuses! (I felt extremely ashamed of my behaviour afterwards).
The look on his face said that he still wasn’t satisfied with my response. Thing is, this is the attitude that many people give you when you do not fast. Apparently, nothing short of having Cancer, a Stomach Ulcer, Diabetes, Heart Problems AND a bullet lodged inside your brain should be reasons enough for one not to fast. Yes indeed.
One has to persevere. So what if you are ill?! You have to vanquish the illness through piety… and possibly die in the process (I’m not saying I was going to die).
I do not want to waste my breath ranting on about how I think these people should mind their own business and not interfere. After all, it’s their SupraNatural Being who will judge me, not they. So let’s just wait until Judgement Day and I’ll let them know what I scored on the Ramadan part of my Grades.
Apparently the man was accepting enough to point out that if I smoke my ciggy in the bathroom, and with the stall door closed and the fan on, it would me much better for me.
So I smoked in the bathroom, well aware of his attempts to “hide and protect me” from the wrath of other Muslims who might be traversing the building stairwell, and who would absolutely faint at the sight of a non-Faster.