Monday, June 6, 2016

Ramadan: Fasting or Feasting?

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

When fasting, Muslims are required to abstain from food, beverages (including water), and sexual intercourse during daylight hours (from dawn to sunset).

This sort of fasting, however, is actually a series of feasts. Most Muslims celebrating Ramadan eat a tremendous amount of food before sunrise and again after sunset. Numerous reports have shown that Muslims consume far more food during Ramadan than during other months. The results are obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.

This tendency to feast and call it "fasting" draws attention to a deeper problem in Islam.


Richard said...

Fr Daniel Sysoev's comments on Ramadan ae quite instructive:
"The fourth pillar concerns the Ramadan month of fasting. Early Muslims in the days of Muhammad kept the fast in a Christian manner: 40 days, and then one month abstaining from meat and milk products as Christians do today. Then Muhammad said it was too hard, and it was revealed to him that daylight fasting would suffice. Accordingly, Ramadan fasting involves abstinence from drink and food, sexual intercourse and, funny enough, cupping glasses (other bans are detailed by the Shariah) from the dawn to the moment when a black thread is indistinguishable from the white one out-of-doors. Then comes the first meal after fasting when you may eat anything you like. I visited Cairo in a Ramadan. It was a pathetic sight. Imagine a Muslim milking a goat in the street in broad daylight, the milk flowing on the asphalt. Of course, the goat had to be milked because of the swelling udder but why make a pool on the asphalt? Late in the day the streets are quite dangerous with motorcycles and fast cars almost touching the pavement when Muslims are racing to their meals. Tables are brought out with shish kebab and all that piled and everyone waiting for muezzin’s[43] call from the minaret to start the meal. Then the call comes like a factory siren and they all fall almost diving on the food at once. I was rather amused because they seemed to regard fasting as dieting rather than a way of spiritual growth. Yet it should be realized for the sake of objectivity that many good Muslims prefer in-depth study of the Quran during the Ramadan. This certainly resembles our fasting devoted to fundamental knowledge of the Holy Writ. Thus Islam retains some elements of Christian fasting. On the other hand, Islamic fasting involves no efforts to drive one’s passions. Fasting is rather used as an instrument of devotion to Allah in parallel to namaz. The key element of the fast for Christians is the struggle against gluttony, anger, and other passions. Islam knows no such notions. Passions are not to be driven in Islam because they are all natural. Man’s present condition is natural for Islam, with the exception of Sufi who recognize the struggle against passions though only to destroy the ego and unite with Allah."

Richard said...

Excellent talk. It needs a transcript. The main point - Islam does not condemn base human, (mainly male), desires, it channels them into an Islamic context. Gluttony is acceptable and noble under the umbrella of Ramadan, sex, loot, pillage, and murder are acceptable and of the highest order of nobility under the umbrella of Jihad, which also serves to spread Islam by the sword and terror.

A little off topic - but I came across a common fallacy Muslims use to attack free speech and freedom in general. It was argued that the drawing of the cartoon of Muhammad was not published by major news channels anywhere in the world because it was their "right not to do so". Other reasons they gave was that it was offensive to Muslims and some argued it was even offensive to them as non-Muslims.

Whereas it is certainly true that they have a right not to publish those cartoons, they were tacitly arguing that the right to publish and the right not to publish were equivalent. And that is where the fallacy lies.

A right is only a right if it is tested and you can freely exercise it without violence or the threat of violence. Charlie Hebdo after years of satirising Christians and Christianity, were challenged to do the same with Islam. They did so, just to prove that Islam was a peaceful religion, only to first get firebombed and then have their journalists slaughtered.

The reason why they chose not to publish those cartoons was not that they had the right not to do so, but because they felt they did not have the right to do so (under the threat of violence). There was no threat to them for not publishing those cartoons. The two rights are not equivalent. During the era of segregation, the black woman had the right to sit at the back of the bus. You cannot say that she right not to sit in the front. She actually did not have that right.

Let us imagine these same journalists and journals were in a country where if you DID NOT publish those cartoons you would be beheaded with a blunt knife, how many would have exercised their right not to publish the cartoons?

PS I am not the Richard of the first post.

Nojmul Huda said...

David, you missed economic aspect of RAMADAN because of over eating during RAMADAN. Because of supply demand law of economy prices of all essential agricultural product goes roof high. As a result, poor people specially in Pakistan, Bangladesh remain starvation even after sunset. Essential food goes beyond their purchasing power and force them to beg as you said so in your video. Corruption increases during the month of RAMADAN to meet extra expense to maintain social status. What a sacrifice Muslims do that food consumption increase, so do increase corruptions as well as suffering of poor!

Radical Moderate said...

Brilliant simply brilliant

Jesus is Lord said...

Amazing brother David!

NJ Pastor said...

My comparative religions professor taught that when Muslims moved to Norway area, they encountered 24 hour sunlight- of course Allah did not reveal to his prophet that he created a land of 24 hours.
Interestingly all or part of Ramadan in Norway occurs during the 24 hour daylight time. So devout muslims realized that they cannot observe Ramadan at that time. So their Imams back home came up with alternative observances to fasting.
Has anyone else heard of this?

Nojmul Huda said...

@Richard of 2nd Post,

Your point about the media is the vital cause fueling uprising of Islamic terrorism since killing of journalist Daniel Pearl. Media want a change from peaceful world with righteous, justice and equality that Jesus brought by His blood from darkness to light in 1st century, to terrorism, lawlessness, to dark world again that Muhammad brought by his sword and taqqya (lie) in sixth century. Quran is a book written by Allah is total lie (Taqqya). I agree with Donald Trump that media is crooked. They try to manipulate natural truth by their political agenda. Otherwise no sensible human being can support Islam, whose religious book "the Quran" openly hate non-Muslims and encourage taqqya (lie) to protect Muhammad and his Allah, as if Allah need human hand to be protected.

Thanks David exposing Islam into light. Those who have eyes let them see and find the truth, “RAMADAN is fasting or feasting”.

Mel said...

If a Muslim lives in an area where there is too much daylight (ie, Norway), he can follow the fasts on the same sunrise/sunset table as Mecca (I assume also accounting for timezone). Like, if sunrise in Mecca is 5:30 and sunset is 18:30, he only needs to fast during that time, from 5:30-18:30.

Steve and Sarah said...

First, let's not be surprised that religious asceticism done by human effort to sort of bootstrap oneself into holiness is an abject failure. The law justifies no one; all it does is reveal sin--so what David reports makes sense: Ramadan as an exercise in self-righteousness ironically reveals sin and is a stench in God's nostrils if it is lifted up to Him as such.

But, to be fair, Ramadan as a sort of cultural festival I think is a wonderful thing certainly akin the the Holiday season like Christmas. A few Muslim acquaintances of mine report that Ramadan is a great community builder as they sort of struggle together through the daylight hours and feast at night. They have special memories of coming together in early hours to eat special meals.

So, I utterly reject Ramadan as a religious attempt to create personal holiness. But, as a cultural event I can see how it would create community--and as a community builder it's just a way to do life, like wearing a kilt and having a log throwing contest and chowing down haggis in Scotland. Culturally, to each their own.

Royal Son said...

Mel, of course, that's a nice rule for people to adopt who live in those regions. However, it's a complete novelty. Such an idea as "Adopt the Meccan time if your region doesn't follow the regular sunrise/sunset patterns of the rest of the world" are NOT taught in the Qur'an nor in Hadith. As such, it is Bid'ah (innovation) and should really be frowned upon if Muslims take their religion seriously.

Richard said...

@ Steven and Sarah,
First of all it is clear that fasting is a valid part of Christianity. It occurs many times in the Old Testament and Christ Himself fasted during his forty days in the wilderness as well as referring to it approvingly on several occasions. Unfortunately in recent times the Roman Catholics seem to have abandoned fasting whilst few protestants have ever seriously adopted it.
However there is a well defined fasting pattern in the Orthodox Church, which grew organically out early Christian practice, and it is about as unlike Ramadan as it could possibly be.

Firstly the expectation is that the average intake of food across (say) Great Lent would be lower than normal. Secondly the main part of the pattern is a change away from meat and dairy products and towards vegetables and fruits. Delaying food until later in the day is also sometimes part of the pattern - but certainly not in conjunction with an early morning binge. In general the idea is to get the body into a suitable state for spiritual effort - but no-one is under the illusion that it is any more than a facilitator.

As a side effect it does also help to build the community in the way you describe - but without the health problems.

Finally it is generally accepted that hospitality and love trump the fast and so you are extremely unlikley to see an Orthodox Christian making a fuss about food. As our Lord said And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”.

Nojmul Huda said...

Ramadan is the month Muslim believe that their Allah gave them "the Quran" to lead their life in this world to get Allah's favor following his command; fasting is one of them. Again this Quran also commanded Muslim to fight for their Allah and Muhammad to secure a seat in heaven. Thus in this month devote Muslims inspired from Quran, fight for Allah and Muhammad to establish Allah's supremacy among people, as devote Christian inspired from the Bible abstain from temptation as Jesus did from Devil’s temptation during His 40 day/nights fasting.

Like all other killings by Muslims in the past, last night an Afghan Muslims name Motin inspired from Quran entered into a gay club in Orlando, Florida and killed 50 people and injured another 50 people. Please note that Muslims around the world generally, do not show their anger for such mass killing by the name of “Allah-Hu-Agbar”, as they do when a people burn a Quran and draw a cartoon of Muhammad. We can remember the violent demonstration including America when a Florida priest burnt a Quran. This indicate devote Muslims have sympathy for the killer for following command of their Allah, and many remain as sleeper for time to come to become martyred. Obama administration failed to protect lives of American by identifying root cause of this Islamic Terrorism and pretending Islam is a religion of PEACE. Food for thought: Who is to blame for these mass murder, the Quran or Moteen?

Mohamoud Hassan Mohamed said...

Mr David Wood how I can trust CNN?? CNN is a christian Channel.
I Trust Allah only and he commanded me to fast this month of ramadaan

Steve and Sarah said...

Dear Richard:

Good comments. Even as I wrote my comments I was thinking similar thoughts: Many of my particular Christian denomination fast for extended periods of time, and I value it as a spiritual discipline.

The difference would be a matter of the heart: In my humble opinion, anything done as an act to earn righteousness before God becomes law--and from my experience with and reading of Islam I think essentially Islam is essentially twice served Judaism--a cobbling together of various laws and thoughts, a system of submission if done correctly can make oneself righteous in God's sight.

So, I think the fruit of fasting really depends upon the root motivation: Done as a law--as one of the Pillars of Islam in this case--to sort of win a merit badge with God is a stench. Done by the grace of God to draw nearer to God (and I believe even Muslims can have such a heart of motivation) it can lead to liberty.

Richard said...

"Ramadan: Fasting or Feasting?"

You forgot Murder. It is the month Muslims fast, feast and Murder.

2:17 "They will question thee concerning the holy month, and fighting in it. Say: 'Fighting in it is a heinous thing, but [always a but] to bar from God's way, and disbelief in Him, and the Holy Mosque, and to expel its people from it -- that is more heinous in God's sight; and persecution is more heinous than slaying..."

Keith said...

Hassan. CNN is not Christian. It's leftist. Like almost every other news channel in the country. Like HuffPo. Like WaPo. Like Barry Soetoro. Like Hillary. Like Cameron. Like Merkel.

Andrew said...

Hello David, just wondering about the debate in Paris you mentioned a few months ago. Is still happening? Has it already occurred?

Richard said...

@ Mohamoud Hassan Mohamed "I Trust Allah only and he commanded me to fast this month of ramadaan"

1. Why do you trust "Allah"? Who or what is "Allah"? Who gave him that name? Where did that name come from? How do you know he is not an invention of Muhammad?

2. How did he command you to fast this month of ramadan? Did he tell you personally? Or is it that you read it somewhere?

Richard said...

David, if you had some trusted bloggers, like we have trusted emailers in our emails, we could engage in a live, meaningful debate on your blog., besides increasing your commentators and comments greatly. It is enormously frustrating to wait, sometimes days, to get posted and greatly impedes any conversation.

Reg Singh said...

For Jews and Christians the name "Allah" can never have the same status as the name "YHWH" because Allah is not for them a REVEALED name. The Bible gives YHWH as the only proper name for deity. Allah is never recognized as a proper name for deity in the Bible.

Allah can only be considered to be a revealed name by those who accept the divine origins of the Quran. For those who reject the divine origins of the Quran, Allah can only be a man-made name.

It appears however that the name Allah was used by Arab Jews and Christians to refer to deity even before the time of Muhammad.

Royal Son said...

Reg Singh, please could you help me out? I've been looking for Jewish and Christian sources using ALLAH in reference to the God of the bible before Muhammad's time and have not been able to find anything. I'd very much appreciate any primary sources you can point me to. Thanks.

Reg Singh said...

Royal Son, some time ago I was sent quite a bit of material regarding this matter by a Muslim in the comments section of an MDI debate video. His position was that today's Christians should recognize Allah as the proper Arabic name for God. Unfortunately I have not been able to re-locate this material on the MDI site. But the following from Wikipedia is the sort of stuff he posted.

According to Marshall Hodgson, it seems that in the pre-Islamic times, some Arab Christians made pilgrimage to the Kaaba, a pagan temple at that time, honoring Allah there as God the Creator.[31]

Some archaeological excavation quests have led to the discovery of ancient pre-Islamic inscriptions and tombs made by Arab Christians in the ruins of a church at Umm el-Jimal in Northern Jordan, which contained references to Allah as the proper name of God, and some of the graves contained names such as "Abd Allah" which means "the servant/slave of Allah".[32][33][34]

The name Allah can be found countless times in the reports and the lists of names of Christian martyrs in South Arabia, as reported by antique Syriac documents of the names of those martyrs from the era of the Himyarite and Aksumite kingdoms.[35][36]

A Christian leader named Abd Allah ibn Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad was martyred in Najran in 523, as he had worn a ring that said "Allah is my lord".[35][37]

In an inscription of Christian martyrion dated back to 512, references to Allah can be found in both Arabic and Aramaic, which called him "Allah" and "Alaha", and the inscription starts with the statement "By the Help of Allah".[35][38][39]

In pre-Islamic Gospels, the name used for God was "Allah", as evidenced by some discovered Arabic versions of the New Testament written by Arab Christians during the pre-Islamic era in Northern and Southern Arabia.[40][41][42]

Pre-Islamic Arab Christians have been reported to have raised the battle cry "Ya La Ibad Allah" (O slaves of Allah) to invoke each other into battle.[43]

"Allah" was also mentioned in pre-Islamic Christian poems by some Ghassanid and Tanukhid poets in Syria and NorthernArabia.[44][45][46]

Picco bow said...

Definitely FEASTING!! Regardless how much they term it "fasting"-really moronic of them. I just wonder with such ridiculousness of Islam I can't for the life of me understand their tenacity to hang on this damn ideology!!

Ry said...

This is off-topic but still on the theme of deprivation. I wondered if David would consider making a video about Islamic attitudes to music. In the UK, a petition entitled ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ has gained the 100,000 signatures needed to trigger a debate in Parliament. With the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), concern has been expressed about the perceived marginalisation of music and other arts subjects and there have been reports of music expertise being withdrawn from some schools to cut costs.

The Parliamentary debate took place on 4th July. In the course of the 21/2 hours discussion the following statement was made by David Warburton, a graduate of Royal College of Music, London, and chair of the Parliamentary all-party group for music education: ‘…It is testimony to the unifying moral power of music that both the Taliban and ISIS, or Daesh, have banned it, just as one or two Popes banned polyphony, then the interval of the triton, and then excessive musical decoration. I understand the pressure the Minister is under from all sides to add everything from Esperanto to den-building to the national curriculum’.

I speculate there may other groups, besides Taliban, ISIS and former Popes, who advocate banning music. I also wonder if there are pressures on the Minister to make changes beyond the introduction of Esperanto or den-making. If there are parents of state-school children who are of the opinion that music should be harem, this could be difficult to reconcile with the convictions of other parents who regard music as a sublime gift which greatly enhances the whole of life. Fortunately the Minister reassured us, towards the end, that music education would be safeguarded and made compulsory for all children up to the age of 14years. I hope that this commitment can be honoured. Superficial enquiries into the Hadith have lead me to conclude that there is no conclusive directive, but proper understanding of relevant Islamic primary sources could be important in resolving future problems.