Saturday, July 13, 2013

My First Ramadan

Ramadan began on Wednesday. I heard many different reflections on the sacred time, but a good many of them contradicted one another. I wasn't sure which story to believe. Some said that it was a good time to get rest in Amman. Others implored me to get out of town. I've heard horror stories of driving, especially when people leave work (early, of course), but every day is a horror story.

I'm impressed with how people are taking in the season. The poor things have it in the dead of the summer when daylight is around for great amounts of time. In the winter, it gets dark much earlier so they don't have to fast all that much.

Many people have said the fasting is more severe than Christians. Yes, it is true that it is absolute during daylight hours, but there is tremendous feasting throughout the night. Everyone stays up to eat and they are exhausted during the daytime. I wonder if this is how it is suppose to work. Christians keep their fast for the season and we abstain from meats on Fridays. I like our Christian approach because it a sensible way to be moderate at all times.

The fascinating thing is that people cannot smoke. I see men waking around with cigarette packs in their shirts or dresses, but they are not to smoke during daylight. I asked what people do right after Iftar, the announcement to say that the fast can be broken. Do you smoke first or have some water? Ceremonially, they are to eat a date first, then a cup of water, then a cigarette. I do relish the smoke-free environment. Mercifully, the gendarmes hand out water when people are driving home just after Iftar is called. That is a nice spirit.

Ramadan is an event, but people just treat it as part of life. They don't make it into an event. It seems rather integrated into the schedule and there is a quality to me that feels holy. More power to them. I wish work wouldn't stop so drastically though. I don't think I'll receive mail for two months. Right now the postal workers are picketing, but we also get notices to collect mail and when we arrive at the Post Office, there is nothing to receive. It will get straightened up by mid-September. I'm sure I'll be appreciative that I've receive my August copy of "Living With Christ" by then.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you to give us a chance to have a peep at another culture, another way of doing things. From the few Muslims I have known in my life, I do feel a sense of the Holy during Ramadan. A concerted focus on the Holy :-)

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    1. Yes, I'm very edified. Everyone tries to keep the fast and they do it solemnly and without notice.

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  2. Thank you for sharing this. Before I retired I knew people who kept the fast at work and I respected them tremendously as they were quiet and humble about their sacrifice.

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    1. I respect people more when they approach it that way. The same with Our Lent. It often become water cooler culture, but it kind of takes away from the quiet respectful devotion.

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  3. Thank you so much for the insight into another world.

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    1. You are welcome. I'll miss the middle portion of Ramadan as I'll be back in the States, but I'll see the most important times. The first few days and the last ones, everyone visits family and neighbors.

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