Nila is a freelance journalist and Clinical Psychology Doctoral student…
The holy month of Ramadan is upon us and though it is a time of reflection and peace for Muslims around the world, it is also a time for some eye-roll worthy questions and statements from our non-Muslim friends.
Check out our list of the most annoying questions and statements Muslims hear during Ramadan.
1. “But like.. a whole MONTH? Really?”
Yes, Ramadan is a whole month. It is 29-30 days of practicing discipline, self-reflection and redefining your relationship with God. I always wonder why it’s such a big deal, I mean, Catholics celebrate Lent for 40 days, that’s longer than Ramadan!
Lent and Ramadan even hold similar values, both holidays are meant for prayer, purifying the soul, repentance and being closer to God. If Lent is such an acceptable and easily understood holiday, why isn’t Ramadan?
2. “Not even water?”
No bro, not even water.
3. “Omg, you’re going to lose like… soooooo much weight!”
Actually, you don’t end up losing a lot of weight because of the breaks in sleep and the tendency to over-eat. During suhoor often times people eat and head to bed which isn’t the best for your metabolism and during iftaar, we are so hungry we overeat and hit a food coma afterward. Because the body is starving all day, it stores the food you eat at iftaar as fat to protect itself.
Unless you’re eating properly with a healthy diet plan for suhoor and iftaar, and incorporating a work-out regime into your daily routine, you won’t lose much weight.
4. “Can’t you just eat in the day and fast at night?”
Great. Thanks. Why didn’t anyone else think of this?
Ramadan is about more than abstaining from food during daylight hours. You also abstain from sex, smoking, cursing, and anything else that can “invalidate” your fast. Sleeping through your fast isn’t exactly a glaring piece of evidence of your discipline, determination, and devotion to faith.
5. “Does chewing gum count?”
Yes! Of course, chewing gum counts, it’s still food! It still has nutritious value and flavor.
6. “Does your saliva count?”
Seriously?….I have no answer for this.
7. “Wait… why aren’t you fasting today”
Muslim women do not fast while menstruating, and before the men start an uproar, they do have to make up the fasts they break. Muslim women still have to fast all 30 days just like everyone else.
So… unless you are ready for the backlash, don’t call out a Muslim sister and ask why she isn’t fasting!
8. “You can eat/drink something, I won’t tell”
Because you have God on speed dial? Were you planning on hitting up God the minute I accidentally drank water?
9. “Are you hangry?”
*see the previous answer*
Jokes aside, Ramadan is a beautiful month and although some of our friends may have questions that seem “dumb,” it is wonderful that they are curious and want to learn.
In a world where Islam is seen in a poor light and innocent Muslims are terrorized daily, it is important to spread knowledge. The news and racist leaders feeding the fears of the ignorant aren’t helping the cause so next time a non-Muslim friend has a question, don’t dismiss them. Spread the light this Ramadan with knowledge, patience, and love.
To all our Muslim readers, we hope you have had a wonderful start to this holy month, Ramadan Kareem!
Nila is a freelance journalist and Clinical Psychology Doctoral student who was born and raised in New York City. There is very little she loves more than Harry Potter marathons, pizza, 90s Bollywood, bagels, falooda, and her family. She hopes to use her powers for good by spreading mental health awareness and positivity in the South Asian community through her love of writing.