It seems like Ramadhan is often misunderstood or simply arrives unnoticed by many. The fact that Ramadhan is conveniently associated with “the month of no eating and hipster food at bazaars” to most of my non-Muslim friends (and unfortunately even some of us Muslims to), alerts me to the paucity of awareness on the blessed month all Muslims around the world are excited for. And it seems that some of them are repeatedly unaware of the fasting obligation required of us Muslims during this month. If I could get a dollar for every
NOT EVEN WATER????!?!????!!!!!!
from a wide-eyed and flabbergasted non-Muslim friend, I’d probably have enough to buy me a new bookshelf. Or something.
Other conversations I have had in the same week:
Friend: Oh my god, it’s so hot… and you’re wearing sleeves?
Friend: Not hot?! Long sleeves???
Me: Err, I’ve always been wearing long sleeves every day *mentally scratches head*
Friend: But today you wear… like so long. Extra long.
Me: *brain in shell-shocked mode* *stares at sleeves* *sleeves stares back*
Friend: I feel sorry for you guys, man.
Friend: You can’t eat and drink from morning to night oh my god.
Me: It’s actually the happiest month for Muslims. We love this month and we look forward to it.
Friend: *bemused* What? Why?!
Me: Well, there are many reasons; our rewards being multiplied being one of it…
Friend: Rewards?! What rewards can you possibly get from that?
I hope we can all delve deeper into these conversations and ask questions with genuine curiosity pretty please (not inane ones, and also definitely not in a way that comes across as “Your religion sounds kinda absurd”, yknow?). It says a lot about our depth of understanding of each other when these questions are still thrown at us Muslims even after our friends have lived, breathed, and interacted (surely?) with people outside their race and religion for more than 20 odd years in our salad bowl of a nation. These questions fuel my determination to become a relevant, empathetic, and informative Social Studies teacher whose sole wish is for everyone of us to understand everyone else that bit more, God willing.
It also got me wondering on my part as a Muslim: if I could think of a better way to explain these concepts in a concise yet comprehensive manner or do some things to make my non-Muslim friends more cognisant of our deen, what would they be?