Ramadan? Big Hypocrisy? Muslims Please Chime in

Ramadan? Big Hypocrisy? Muslims Please Chime in

Here’s a question based on my observations of several trips I’ve made to the UAE during Ramadan, but first…

I understand Ramadan is a holy month, a time for Muslims to fast and pay tribute to God etc.

You’ve got the fasting during the day which also includes no smoking or drinking while the sun is up, no sex, then you’ve got your Zakat, and the entire month has a very nice vibe to it.

People are enjoying themselves at Iftar buffets in the various hotels, smoking shisha and generally having a nice time, but here is an observation followed by my question.

I noticed that during Ramadan, the majority of people stay up all night socializing, having fun etc, they sleep all day, and wake up just in time for the Iftar dinner bell to ring, then they repeat the process.

I see a bunch of my friends, they are up all night, gorging themselves, chain smoking and having a party every night, and come the morning, they sleep the day away.

So, if they are sleeping through the day, then where exactly is the sacrifice? There really isn’t a fast is there? When so many people switch their schedules to offset the harshness of a true fast, it seems to defeat the purpose of any sacrifice.

This seems to be rather hypocritical, and all 'all knowing" God would be aware of the slipperiness of the schedule change.

By the way, I’m as agnostic as they come, so pleased don’t think I am trying to center out Muslims (I have many Muslims friends)


(Mods, could you please correct the terrible spelling mistake I made in the title? Thanks)


A few thoughts, from someone who has lived in a Muslim area and participated in a couple of Ramadans there.

I think staying up all night to gorge on hotel buffets is not the typical experience. It’s only in the last few decades in rather specific areas that people have amassed enough wealth to do that sort of thing. I’d venture that no matter what their religion was, that particular demographic would pretty much do the same thing. The idle rich are going to act extravagantly no matter what their circumstances are. I mean, look at the pope all covered in gold.

In much of the Muslim word, through much of history, breaking the fast has been a relatively low-key family thing. Where I lived in Cameroon they could not afford any special food- at best you might get an extra spoonful of sugar or maybe a splash of milk in the traditional porridge used to break fast. While people did nap more during the day, that’s because it was so hot (usually above 100) that doing much work without water would put you in physical danger. I don’t know anyone who outright just switched day and night- Ramadan or not the cows need to be milked, the kids need to get to school and the mango crop has to get to the market.

I think you are focusing too much on ideas here. Not every holiday is actually about what it claims to be about. How many of us actually take the “thankful” part of Thanksgiving any more serious than perhaps a round of “I am thankful for…” before dinner? We all know Thanksgiving is really about family, and the rest is just the excuse. I think Ramadan is more about having a shared community experience than it is about sacrifice. And it is excellent at providing that sense of going on a shared journey with your community. It really is a special time and it really does have a good “vibe” to it.

I think when people talk about Islam, they expect everything to be up to fundamentalist standards, which is pretty silly. Islam has plenty of casual and cultural adherents, who don’t take stuff word-for-word but enjoy the culture of it.

Gus, I’m not a Muslim, but I have a good friend and co-worker who is. He observes Ramadan pretty much exactly as you would expect it to be observed. He works his regular shift, starting about mid-afternoon as he does the rest of the year, and waits for sundown to take a meal. Then he works the evening as he usually does. It’s not a terrible hardship or sacrifice, but a real one. As religious customs go (I’m an atheist), it seems perfectly legitimate to me. And, I suspect, more typical than the window you’ve seen.

Ever been to New Orleans for Mardis Gras? I’m pretty sure that’s not the official way to prapre for Lent :smiley:

There’s nothing wrong with using a religious holiday as an excuse for a more secular social event (see Christmas, Easter). But if you think Ramadan actually means something and you’re following the letter rather than the spirit of the rule like that, you are deluding yourself.

Actually the original idea was that you would gorge on all the forbidden foods the day before the lent and have fun whille it was still allowed. So, no particularly surprising.

FTR, I know a number of muslims who don’t follow the ramadan but nevertheless don’t forget to celebrate the end of the fast at night.

I am not a Muslim but I grew up in a country that was 97% Muslim. What you are describing is the behavior of a tiny minority. The more commonly observed behavior was working 12 hours of hard physical labor in 100 degrees and eating a few dates drinking a glass of salted lemonade and going off to the mosque to pray before heading home for a normal dinner. I used to keep one fast every year, just to appreciate what my friends were going through. I can tell you that it really increases your sympathy for the hungry.

Does it make a statement less believable if told by a Muslim? Then why do some people need to start off by indicating they are not Muslims?

They’re saying they don’t have firsthand experience in fasting for Ramadan, and are describing what they have seen other people do.

What, you mean like in Goldfinger? That’d be something to see!

The thread asks “Muslims please chime in,” so I guess the people chiming in feel they ought to say whether or not they’re Muslims. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any practicing Muslims currently active on the SDMB.

sorry. Misunderstanding.


I have had firsthand experience fasting for Ramadan and I am not Muslim. It’s as others say. Rich people do what rich people do. The rest of us have jobs, or, in those days, school, and can’t afford to stay up all night and party.

(I had almost forgotten about those days until this thread. Ah, nostalgia…you bitch. :slight_smile: )

I know many Muslims who feel the same way the OP does about people not really embracing the spirit of Ramadan. It’s kind of like Christians who feel too many people don’t embrace the true spirit of Christmas. As has been pointed out, not all Muslims behave the way you describe.

It’s a bit like Puffins and Beavers and other animals are considered fish by the catholic church so they can be ate on fast days. Bending the rules is what humans are good at.


And then there are things like Shabbas elevators. I see them around the city sometimes and I always they violated the spirit of the religious law they are designed to work around. But what’s it to me if people want to flout their own religious rules?

I am a muslim
You seem to be starting with the presumption that every muslim is devout and follows every ideal to the letter. Not the case.

For most of a working day, the fact its Ramazan means; nothing. You don’t even start feeling the effects of a fast until around 4 pm, in other words near the end of a normal busines day. The exception is that well you don’t eat. The second issue is that Ramazan is a good time for family; in todays modern world it is often the only time a family eats together regularly in a year.

The party all night and sleep all day crowd that you see do that year round, you just see it in sharp relief in Ramazan.

There’s ‘gorging on Lent-forbidden foods the day before’, and then there’s “get stinking drunk night after night, show your tits/ogle tits, and generally do lots of non-Catholicism-approved stuff” for a couple weeks. :smiley:

In case anyone else had to look it up: Shabbat elevator