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.