Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ramadan 2017 -- time to prepare

So Ramadan is just around the corner. Man, time flies. It will likely be called on Friday night so fasting begins Saturday, with a smaller chance of it being called Saturday night so fasting begins Sunday.

As usual I'm going to fast as well. Yes, it's unusual for a non-Muslim to fast but I do it anyway. Yes, people ask me all the time why I do it. It keeps me more in sync with the country (long nap in the afternoon, out late at night, eating the same time as everyone else etc) and it's a great cultural experience if you're living in an Islamic country. I also found that while challenging it was not as hard as I originally thought it would be and it's also a good way to shake up your routine. Maybe I'll even lose some weight.

During Ramadan things get stricter. Restaurants are not open during the day, all bars will be closed, and the liquor store will be closed as well. People will be expected to dress a little more conservatively. T-shirts are fine but I'm always mindful of wearing shorts as shorts that go above the knee might be crossing the line for some conservative people. I went shopping for some new 3/4 length cargo shorts to wear, I typically wear stuff like that every Ramadan.

All that's left is to go food shopping for my iftars and sohours: dates, laban, nuts, whole grain breads, a bit of cheese, oatmeal, soup, an assortment of fruit and vegetables, these are my go-to foods for Ramadan. I need to try to avoid the buffets and hotel specials that will be everywhere, going to lavish meals are a popular pastime during Ramadan but they really hit the waistline, going from fasting for 15-hours to a buffet is an easy way to overeat. Every Ramadan there's news reports of hundreds going to hospital for gastric issues because of overeating. I find having a small iftar meal at home is best, but then I need to get out of my apartment or else I'll start snacking on nuts and stuff. It's hard (for me anyway) to stop eating once you start so it's better to have a small meal then get away from the food.

This year for my Ramadan reading I will revisit the book on Islamic Jurisprudence that I have. I first read it a few years ago but I have since forgotten a lot of the principles. In my job I sometimes deal with Islamic Finance companies so it's always a good idea to understand the basics.

Two days to go.

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