Sunday, July 3, 2016

Eating in public during Ramadan should not attract harassment

Yet it does.  As Ramadan comes to a close, I feel like I should pen this article.  It will most likely be a fairly short article.

This past Ramadan, I have heard unsettling stories of people being harassed for eating in public.  Not just Muslims, but non-Muslims too.  I feel this is wrong.  One's fast is purely between themselves, and God.  You do not know what ailments the person may be facing that is preventing them from fasting.  For example, chronic hypoglycemia can lead to seizures and if emergency medical aid is not given, can lead to death.  For the ladies, they may be on their period, something which prevents them from fasting.  C'mon guys, we've learned this in school.  My 4 year old cousins know this.  Your actions are inadvertently telling me that you know/care less about your faith than a 4 year old.  That's embarrassing, bro.

A common retort is that they are 'disrespecting' Muslims by eating in public.  Bullshit.  It is you who are weak-willed.  You see another person eating and mentally you've succumbed to the seduction of food.  You should see it as a test of your resolve and your faith from the Almighty.  I was often told that the Almighty does not give challenges one cannot handle.  If you believe in this, then you have failed in a test you should have weathered.

Furthermore, those of us fasting in Malaysia should be grateful we're only fasting an average of 13-14 hours a day AND that we are fasting in a country where many companies give a bit of leeway so Muslims may leave the office early.  Personally, if my co-worker wants to eat a 7-course steak dinner in front of me, I cannot say anything, but I am extremely grateful in their consideration.  In return for their consideration, I do my best to not make them feel uncomfortable whenever they need to have a drink or a quick snack, even if it is in front of me.

In many other countries, such leeways are not given.  You are expected to work the regular hours, and you may be the fasting for 16, 18, and even over 20 hours!

We were taught in school that Ramadan is not simply a time of starving and dehydrating oneself; but rather a time of introspection as we are to restrain from sexual relations, false speech (insulting, back biting, etc), and fighting.  It is also a time where we should be working to mend any strained relations with one another, REGARDLESS of faith.  And yet today we see some who have sadly not done so.

Remember; don't be a dick.  If you see a non-Muslim eating in public, leave them the fuck alone.  You don't see Hindus barging into Victoria Station saying you're disrespecting their religion by consuming beef, do you?  No.  So reciprocate that understanding and tolerance that has already been extended to us.

If you have read up to here, thank you for your time in reading and please feel free to share your opinions in the comments.  I will do my best to reply.

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