An Interesting Time of Year !

Dear Reader,

I have made a commitment to myself to write something new every Saturday, and  I am a person who values my own self commitments except those  related to diet. When it comes to dieting and eating healthy, the foodie inside me always wins and the site of good food makes me often take on a “Let’s diet tomorrow” approach.  However, my ability to write has been slowed by the coming of the Holy Month of Ramadan, a month dedicated to fasting, the strengthening of faith, the  practicing of self discipline, and of course the absence of productivity.

At least I am seeing a noticeable absence in my productivity. What takes me one hour to accomplish on a normal day takes an hour and a half during Ramadan. The lack of caffeine in my system often makes me lose concentration and in the later hours of the day it even makes me battle  with the pounding of my own head .

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I often wonder about those people who tell you with confidence that they accomplish more in Ramadan. I hear statements like these and I wonder to myself “How?”, how is that even possible when we are working for six hours instead of eight?  I hear statements like these and others that are similar.  Some people tell you “I didn’t even feel a change in Ramadan” . Others would go a step further and say  “Somehow I am feeling healthier in Ramadan” . These people tend to forget that  feeling more energetic or healthy while fasting is biologically impossible. With a lack of glucose reaching our brains it is impossible to feel energetic. However, I believe that these statements are the results of years of conditioning . People who say things like that   are repeating what they want to feel or want to believe. Or, like so many other aspects making up the social fabric of our communities, they are sweet talking  or acting simply to avoid conflict.

Dear reader, in this post I am not undermining  the spirituality of the season. I am not questioning such people’s closeness to God, or their openness to doing good deeds . They might be spiritually sound and good in every one of their intentions but they may be embellishing the truth when it comes to their increased sense of productivity in Ramadan. But, is this the only incident in which we say what people expect us to say or when we act as we are expected to act? After all, we come from  a society that can be harsh on anyone who does anything other than the expected. Anyone explaining that they are finding a challenge in Ramadan may be questioned or accused of  having a lack of faith. Anyone losing their temper may be judged. However,  people lose their temper all the time but as long as it is not in the open it is ok.

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We spend years in school learning about the spiritual benefits of Ramadan so we grow up thinking that it shouldn’t be challenging, but talking about its challenges doesn’t diminish its value but it does diminish people’s opinions of us and it may make them question our beliefs. Because we are all so opinionated, many  people in our society lie . They lie not because  they are bad people, but because our society doesn’t accept for anyone to deviate from the norm. It isn’t their fault as they are faced with a challenge and this is a challenge we all face. They are forced to wonder if they should speak their true feelings and face battles or if they are better off staying silent.   This dilemma doesn’t only apply to Ramadan It is a dilemma that applies to all aspects of life. One needs to question if they are really to discuss their views on  relationships, career choices, gender roles, financial independence, political orientation, or any aspect making up a personality. Anything deviating from the norm is not called personal choice it is open to judgment. However, let us just stick to Ramadan for this article.

If  Ramadan is such an energetic time , why is the taxi driver annoyed, the shopkeeper asleep at the cashier, and the manager of any organization not open to negotiating anything with anyone. Why do tasks lag behind and why is the traffic in the streets of Amman unbearable?  Why are people prepared to watch one series after the other and why are those series written to be entertaining and to discuss issues like infidelity, crime or any other social vice that defies the whole essence of the Holy Month?.

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Aren’t those series designed to respond to our need to kill many hours in the day in which we are unable to do anything productive? Aren’t they an opportunity for TV production houses to thrive on our demand for such content?   Let us admit it, saying that Ramadan reduces our energy levels doesn’t make us bad Muslims it is just an honest description of our state while fasting. Since fasting is a challenge set from God when we are dealing with this lack of energy, we are taking on this challenge head on.

But on the upside, Ramadan is a time to think more about our spiritual orientation and it is a time that encourages good deeds. However, I wish that people’s appetite for doing good extends beyond the Holy Month. So, with that being said Ramadan is a good time of year but it really isn’t an energetic one and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing bad about  putting our lives on hold for a month and allowing ourselves to think of the bigger picture.

LANTERNFESTIVAL

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