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Topic: Ramadan
Replies: 9   Last Post: May 8, 2019 1:04 PM by: PACIFIC BEACH TIGER
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Ramadan

[9]
Posted: May 7, 2019 12:07 PM
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Ramadan, the Muslims Holy Month occurred during the time I was working in Pakistan many years ago. One of my interpreters gave me a brief history of the event and how they could circumvent some of the restrictions required during Ramadan.

Restrictions include fasting from sun up to sun down. They can have a hearty breakfast but no food after sun up until after sun down, called "iftar". Dates were suggested as the first things to eat because they supplied quick energy. That was followed by a hearty meal. My interpreter told me many people ate so much at the evening meal they gained weight during Ramadan.

If a Muslim is traveling, they can have food during the day. When we were spending time in other parts of Pakistan this was considered traveling so he could eat as often and as much as he cared during the day. All of the restaurants did a thriving business after sun down. When I was in Karachi, our main office, I stayed at the Metropole Hotel. The regular hotel restaurant was closed during the day but they had a small restaurant set up in another area to serve non-Muslims.

Pakistan was one of the few Muslim countries where the age old custom of determining the end of Ramadan was the sighting of the moon. I don't recall the city where the sighing of the moon occurred but it was probably in Lahore. As soon as the sighting of the moon occurs, word spreads quickly throughout the country and giant feasts and festivals abound. On this particular night, the entire sky was covered with clouds and the moon was not visible. In many of the other Muslim countries the end of Ramadan was determined by the calendar, not by the moon sighting. To say the Pakistanis were mad as hello would be an understatement.

The next night, the official "moon sighters" did see the moon and Ramadan came to an official end in Pakistan. It was now time to celebrate, and celebrate they did, but no alcoholic beverages were in sight. There was an English language newspaper in Karachi and there were numerous letters to the editor soon after the end of Ramadan. Readers were upset that the end of Ramadan depended on a visual sighting of the moon rather than referring to the exact time in an almanac.

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Re: Ramadan

[1]
Posted: May 7, 2019 12:46 PM
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Ramadan Kareem Joe

Ramadan is like a month long Thanksgiving. All observant Muslims should fast from sunup to sun down. The very young, pregnant and elderly are exempt from the fasting. A person can not eat, drink (even water), chew gum, or smoke. Even if you are a non-Muslim you are prohibited from doing this in public. Depending on the country, you can be arrested if caught doing so. It's not really a big deal. Almost all restaurants are closed during the day. At sun down a canon sounds signifying the end of fasting. The locals hurry off to family homes or restaurants to celebrate until the wee hours of the morning. They end up sleeping a lot of the day. (Making fasting easy)

Not a lot gets done during Ramadan


Students at my school fast while having a full day


Posted: May 8, 2019 1:04 PM
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Well about 50% of the high school student body actually fasts. The rest cheat quite a lot. Still the other half are fasting while having to go to school and even take final exams next week. I feel for them!

Here is a link to the school, it's a really beautiful boarding school and modeled after Deerfield Academy in the USA where King Hussain went to school when he was a child. He founded the school to be the "Dearfield of the Desert".

https://www.kingsacademy.edu.jo/


Re: Ramadan


Posted: May 7, 2019 12:47 PM
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I realize you said there was no alcohol in sight, but could you find it if you wanted it? Also, how did people treat you? Did they like Americans back then? Were you ever in danger or is the country different now in that regard?

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Re: Ramadan

[2]
Posted: May 7, 2019 2:41 PM
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Our 3 - man consulting firm had about 25 Pakistanis working with us including our interpreters. The only ones that traveled with us were our interpreters and drivers. Our work involved working with both Pakistani and Indian businessmen. When working with an Indian, we could tell there was a bit of tension but all were invited for lunch. If we were in that location overnight, we three Americans would be invited back for dinner where we usually had an alcoholic beverage. Sometimes it wasn't the most delightful setting because cockroaches were everywhere.

This was in 1992-93 and I never felt threatened. I relied on my interpreters to advise me about customs and anything that might be of danger. Any water was a no no, as was many foods. When traveling, they would check out the restaurants to see if it was OK. We were advised to avoid any restaurants or foods in small villages. There were places where we were prohibited for visiting but we had no reason to go to those areas.

If conditions in Pakistan in 1992-93 were similar to what they are today, I would not have gone.

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Re: Ramadan


Posted: May 8, 2019 8:47 AM
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Interesting. Thanks for the response.

2019 white level member

Re: Ramadan


Posted: May 7, 2019 1:27 PM
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I traveled a lot to Malaysia and loved being there during Ramadan. As a westerner we found open restaurants for lunch but tried not to eat much. The fun is in the evening. Get reservations early if appropriate and expect the menu to be more like an all you can eat buffet. lots of Chinese food in Malaysia so I am sure I gained weight during my 3-4 day trips there.

2019 white level member

Re: Ramadan


Posted: May 7, 2019 2:43 PM
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Joe, you should write a book. What a life you're living.

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Re: Ramadan

[1]
Posted: May 7, 2019 5:52 PM
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Joe, your posts are often more interesting than anything else I’ve read anywhere the entire day. What a life of amazing experiences you have had! Thanks for sharing!

2019 orange level member

How do the cheap Noodles play into all that?


Posted: May 8, 2019 12:00 PM
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Many non-Muslims have survived on them starting out.

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