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30 Days…

September 12, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve noticed a trend in some Muslims living in Western nations during Ramadan. Come the holy month, one can observe that they’re afraid to show their religion openly and some even go to lengths to hide their fasting. I’ve observed in some, and heard it from others, and this desire to hide Islam does not serve them well.

A young friend of mine confessed to how she has a hard time dealing with Ramadan. She and her friends frequently eat lunch together and come lunchtime, she doesn’t have it in her to tell them she’s fasting so she makes up a story that she’s joined something new; last year it was the library I think. Considering her situation, I had no choice but to advise her that she must tell her friends the truth, rather than keeping her religious duty a secret and avoiding all the questions they might ask her.

For one, aside from this being a Da’wah opportunity, being frank and open with her friends and observing their reactions will show her just how much they respect her as a friend. Two, through her, they can ask her any questions regarding Islam and receive first-hand information rather than hearing all sorts of stories from the media. Most importantly, she’ll be able to practice her religion more freely rather than suppress it every time she’s around her friends.

Another case is that of the workplace. As some of you can relate, many feel that practicing their religion in a non-Muslim dominated workplace is quite a challenge; not from others, but from within themselves. Little do they know that usually their co-workers will be more than willing to offer them whatever they require, such as a room to pray in. Fortunately, most Muslims I know are respected at work and are even provided with a clean space to perform their obligatory prayers. An example would be an uncle of mine, who while under the watchful eyes of his superiors, and while trying to obtain a much sought after position with lots of competition, still put up Ramadan decorations made by his little kids on his office door for all to see. Subtle, yet thoughtful, since that reminds his colleagues that he’s fasting. Needless to say, all he got was respect.

Yes, I understand; initially it might be difficult and somewhat uncomfortable to do at first, but eventually you’ll wish you’d done that earlier in your life. It’s 30 days out of 365, 4 weeks out of the 52, a single month in the year in which the gates of hell are closed and we are given a chance to invest in spiritual growth and commit ourselves to Allah. Islam is not just a practice; it’s a way of life. And you shouldn’t hide it.

Keep strong M.

Ramadan Kareem brothers and sisters!

 Not the way to spend your Ramadan…

Ramadan routine

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Categories: General, Islam, Life, Opinion
  1. September 12, 2007 at 4:48 AM

    Wonderful post Sam. I love my job and the people I work with because they respect my religion. During Ramadhan they are extra sensitive to my needs due to the endless information they have garnered from me. Its a blessing to work with people who are ok with letting you get off work early so you can get to taraweh on time. My issue arises when I have to deal with non practicing muslims who brush aside this important month as nothing but a hunger thing instead of a spiritual reconnection. I think they need more da’wah than the christians.

  2. idaku
    September 12, 2007 at 12:13 PM

    Ramadan Kareem! I also have seen this tendency among Muslims abroad and understand their situations. When I started my first job in USA I didnt want to do anything that might jeopardize my chances of going up the success ladder and becuse of that I tried delayed prayers and hid fasting. But I could not do it any longer so one day I asked for a space to pray in and my supervisor personally gave me a little room to pray in! After that, my coworkers always remembered Islamic occasions and wished me happy greetings. Those were the best years I had in USA.

  3. September 12, 2007 at 2:01 PM

    Good advice, SD. As long as I can remember, every workplace I found myself in had either a room called ‘mosque’ or a small clean area to pray. That makes me take such a privilage for granted but I guess there could be as well some Muslims who find it hard to secure such a space. Possible even some Muslims are unable to clearly inform their friends and work-mates what is expected of them during the Ramadan. Good luck to them.

  4. Sam
    September 12, 2007 at 3:14 PM

    SleepDepraved: Much thanks to you, your colleagues are open to you and understand your needs as a Muslim. You’re blessed with a nice workplace to be allowed to leave work early for Taraweeh prayers. However, the same can’t be said for some, especially the younger ones still in school. Those sincere about fasting tend to hide it, while usually the open ones are doing it for show. And as you mentioned, many have lost the plot and fast in order to feast.

    idaku: Ramadan Mubarak. Yea, you’re right; many fear they might incur the wrath of their co-workers or superiors; but know little that it’s their right. You did the right thing in the end.

    thetwoadvocates: You have a point. Many workplaces nowadays provide a little prayer room for Muslims, and you have a point about taking it for granted. I remember a friend who couldn’t handle working in his office so he quit and found another job with a ‘little mosque’. For him, quitting was a blessing in disguise.

  5. AMTAF!
    September 12, 2007 at 7:21 PM

    Very good advice you give here. I am yet to see any workplace that was so opposed to one’s requests to pray or fast. Most of the time, they’re extremely sensitive to it.

    Ramadhan Kareem to you and everyone else here.

  6. September 14, 2007 at 12:25 PM

    i’m so glad you put that cartoon at the bottom. I, in all my technical ignorance, spent a lot of time last night trying to attach it to my blog from the aafaq.org website add the English to it. Hats off to your technical prowess:)

    As far as fasting in the west, in both the UK and US I had nothing but positive feedback from my co-workers in the offices I worked. Some of my closest cubicle neighbors in a US company even went as far as to go to the breakroom to drink their coffee and snack so I wouldn’t have to watch them while I’m fasting despite my reassurances their eating didn’t faze me. Is that cool or what?
    In a UK office, my supervisor approached me before Ramadan if I needed my breaks rearranged so I can break my fast and pray when the time comes. The company even designated an empty room for us to pray in. And there were only a few Muslims amidst an overwhelming majority of non-Muslims.
    I think anyone who tries to cover their fasting already has inferiority issues to deal with, so Ramadan makes the issue more apparent than the rest of the time.

  7. September 16, 2007 at 10:16 AM

    Ramadan Kareem ya Sam! Here in the UK, most of the employers respect your religion and would be lenient towards you during the month of ramadan and offer flexible hours – most of them that is!

    It is the muslims who are shy of being spotted and being called a Muslim these days!

    p.s Welcome back from the long hiatus!

  8. Mohammed
    September 16, 2007 at 1:30 PM

    Hey Sam how have you been? hows everything going. Ramadan Kareem bro

  9. Nadia
    September 16, 2007 at 3:12 PM

    Although I myself have not experienced any troubles working in workplaces where Muslims are a minority, like you said there are others who have a hard time showing their ‘Islam’. I know the fear of losing a job when you are new or young and that sometimes puts people off I guess. I hope you have a great Ramadan.

  10. Sam
    September 18, 2007 at 12:42 PM

    AMTAF: Ramadan Kareem. True, I’ve noticed how sensitive people sometimes are to the topic.

    SSW: 🙂 The way you put it, it feels like I’ve accomplished a daunting task by putting that picture there. The problem with many is that the respect they yearn for is right there in front of them…and yet they strip themselves off it.

    shafi: Ramadan Kareem bro. True; there’s respect for religion wherever there is law, but ‘shy’ Muslims understand that practicing their religion openly is their right.

    Mohammed: Ramadan Kareem. ويش الجديد معاكم؟

    Nadia: Spot on; being new and fearing upsetting anyone is among the biggest factors. Enjoy your Ramadan…

  11. Ali UK
    September 21, 2007 at 2:49 AM

    i know a few who are like that. My own high school friends have a similar attotude when they are around their friends. All you have said are good points but the youth have a hard time because they don’t want to risk being left out.

    Have a great Ramadan Kariim.

  12. September 25, 2007 at 2:00 PM

    Hello again, Sam. Hope you are having a better time fasting.

  13. September 30, 2007 at 6:51 PM

    a thoughtful post, the image is so perfectly true and the message is an eye opener. Just gone half way and I feel I haven’t achieved half of what I wanted, meh. A very belated Ramadan Karim to you.

  14. Areej
    October 1, 2007 at 5:28 AM

    Great advice Sam. I know a couple of people who can relate to what you said. Just a few days remaining of Ramadan and each year it seems to be going by faster then the previous. Hope you are having a great Ramadan.

  15. October 1, 2007 at 12:35 PM

    Oh that image couldnt be so true. Many of us unconciously follow that daily routine and as much as we try to change it we end up leaving it for the next day. The rest of what you said is true. It brings back memories of highschool when the girls and I would be together. The first Ramadhan I fasted at school, I sorta went into panic during lunchtime with the girls and thought of ways to avoid them. But in the end I stayed with them and told them I was fasting and they understood and even proposed to try fasting with me to see how it’s like.

    Although a bit late, Ramadhan Kareem and hope it was as great for you as it was for me.

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