The Ramadan Fast

Certain things make you pause and wonder “hmm?”.

The large discrepancy between the number of hours a Muslim would fast in his lifetime depending on where he lives in the world shows a poorly planned and thought out unfair system.

Why is it that Islam prescribes such a huge difference in fasting hours for entire communities? Does this not seem unfair and unjust?  I am not referring to extreme cases like Fasting in the Arctic, but rather the normal fast that the entire community did in Canada which was 17 hours a day, every day.

A flawed understanding of the world

To me, it seems that much of Islam seems to indicate that it was created by someone who didn’t understand the way the world works, which is what I discussed in my “Muhammad explains stuff” video.

Looking at the idea of daylight hours, we know it’s always night time somewhere in the world.

The following related hadith shows the same misunderstanding:

“Allah descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the first part of the night is over and says: I am the Lord; I am the Lord: who is there to supplicate Me so that I answer him? Who is there to beg of Me so that I grant him? Who is there to beg forgiveness from Me so that I forgive him? He continues like this till the day breaks.” (Muslim)

The first sentence is the problem. It indicates a flawed understanding of the world.

In the same way the next hadith yet again shows the same misunderstanding:

The Prophet asked me at sunset, “Do you know where the sun goes (at the time of sunset)?” I replied, “Allah and His Apostle know better.” He said, “It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates Itself underneath the Throne … ”

A basic understanding of cosmology is missing here.

We retain the use of the term “sunset” in English even though we know the sun is not literally setting, rather our Earth is rotating.

That is okay. But if someone asked you “Where does the sun go when it sets?” and you told them “It goes to take a nap under Jesus’s bed in heaven” you would wonder if that person knew what they were talking about.

And then there is the whole issue of how to know the month has even started. And different parts of the world start on different days sometimes even off by 3 days. All because Muhammad said fast based on the moon being sighted. Works in 7th century Arabia, but really is this the best way? These things should give a person pause to ponder. Did God truly come up with such a flawed system?

God truly knew that Islam would spread all over the world, yet he didn’t build a fair system for equal fasting for everyone. Connecting the time of prayer and fasting to daylight may have made sense in Arabia where the hours are consistent year round, but not in most places in the world.

Difficulties fasting

Many people struggle with fasting. Those who have to work manual labour jobs or in the heat without water. Those kids who are in school or are involved in sports activities. Fasting can create a brain fog and make it hard to focus when your sugars drop.

Lethargy is apparent in the Muslim community this month. Kids as young as 10 are encouraged to fast. I know I encouraged my kids to do it. My pregnant wife even fasted a few times because that’s what the sheikhs at Almaghrib taught us – that you SHOULD fast if you can. She even used to fast while breastfeeding, and you can imagine how tough that is.

Health benefits

In terms of weight, normally people would expect to lose weight in this month due to reduced calorie consumption and lack of activity, but due to the special luxury foods prepared and consumed, people actually gain weight this month.

The Ramadan fast is most similar to intermittent fasting which has been studied to show health benefits as in this Nerd Fitness article and James Clear article. The problem is that all the studies on intermittent fasting are done as studies on wet fasting (with liquids) whereas Ramadan is a dry fast which comes with a risk of dehydration. Usually by the middle to end of the month my lips became quite dry and may even crack from reduced water consumption.

Good things in Ramadan

Encouragement for charity is a wonderful thing about Ramadan. Seeing your family more often, the proud feeling you get when you complete the fast and complete the 30 days, and the happiness you get from thinking that Allah will forgive all your sins is great.

In Conclusion

But just because something has a few good things does not make it true or good for humanity. Many man-made religions have beneficial aspects yet they are still false.

Truth deserves to be known.

2 thoughts on “The Ramadan Fast

  1. A good article, and wow, I hadn’t noticed before that hadith about descending at night. Veeery flat earth! And there’s a similar issue with prayer times. For Mo, dawn was simply when everyone woke up for the day. In somewhere like the north of Scotland in June, it’s barely 4 hours between isha and fajr, so Muslims there have to wake up to pray, then go back to sleep again til they have slept enough to get up again! Ridiculous!

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