Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ramadan Lite

Unless you live under a rock (or aren't Muslim), you know that Ramadan is fast approaching. Muslims around the world spend all year looking forward to it, which is evident from the almost tangible excitement buzzing in the air these days. This all sounds great so far, right? Well it is, but there's just one thing I can't help but wonder: If we're all so excited about Ramadan, then why are we content with short-changing ourselves by artificially cutting the fasting day short?

In case you aren't familiar with this, here's the gist of it: For the last few years, Egypt has been moving up the date that it ends daylight saving time to coincide with the beginning of Ramadan, in order to decrease the number of hours in the fasting day. Essentially, it's one more hour of eating, one less of fasting. In the past, this was enough to bother me; but when I found out that we'd be changing the clock a total of four times this year, I nearly lost it.

If you ask someone what Ramadan is all about, you're likely to hear about sacrifice, discipline, patience, empathy, and charity, among other things. They'll tell you all about the opportunities for spiritual growth the month has to offer. So, where does this lost hour fit in with these virtues? How can we claim to be making any progress in these areas when we're so blatantly watering down what was originally prescribed for us? Instead of taking advantage of the longer fasting day to earn a greater reward, we opt for "Ramadan Lite." To be clear, it's not so much the missing hour that concerns me, but the principle. I just feel that we take enough shortcuts in life as it is, and this is one I don't want to add to the list.

One might argue that it actually makes sense to end daylight saving time, since it's somewhat of an unnatural practice only conjured up in recent years to preserve energy. Some might point out that religion is meant to be easy and that we shouldn't make things harder than they have to be. Still others might tell me to get over it because, in the grand scheme of things, it's not worth pondering and there are bigger fish to fry. And they'd probably be right...except I don't eat fish.


  1. You're right!! I felt so angry when I heard about this!! I mean.. seriously?! Why?? People aren't going to die of hunger because they're going to fast for one more hour! I don't get the whole daylight saving thing to begin with.. so this just topped it!

  2. Completely agree! Most Arab countries don't participate in daylight savings. What's the point to change clocks again after Ramadan and then again a few weeks later?

  3. i don't get how like... you fast one less hour though? like tech the sun rises and sets at the same times, regardless of what the time we assign to it is. would it just mean they go to work and hour later or something? DST is a mystery to me lol

  4. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way...I guess we just have to make the best of it!

    Zoya, you're right. Let me clarify: There is no "lost" hour; it just ends up being in the middle of the night (which doesn't bother most people). So, we break our fast an hour earlier, but start fasting an hour earlier too. And yes, they go to work later and come home earlier haha...Great work ethic!