Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Ramadan Restrictions; "Don't Feed The Bears"
We're in the month of Ramadan now and its interesting to watch the Iraqis as they struggle with the various restrictions, most notably the practice of fasting. While observing the holy month Muslims are not permitted to eat during the daylight hours. They wake before dawn, eat, pray and then thats it for food until evening prayers. Honestly, very few of the people that I work with faithfully keep to the strict regime throughout the entire month, but they all give it a good try.
One of the guys that I was speaking to yesterday told me that he had never fasted for Ramadan before, but thought that he would give it a try this year. He said, "It's hard and I did it for one day. That's all I'm doing. One day of fasting and I will be in Paradise for one day. That's good enough for me."
Knowing that evening prayers for Sunni and Shi'a come at different times I asked my friend, which one comes first? He told me with a big grin, "I don't care. The first one to prayer, and I'm eating with them". He makes me laugh.
Here's another little oddity, water counts as food. They can't drink water! Keep in mind it's 115 degrees outside and they're running around in 20 lbs of body armor all day long. Normally they're drinking gallons of the stuff. I asked my friend if (when) he collapses from heat exhaustion if giving him an IV will violate the Ramadan restrictions. He told me, "Yes, it does". "No medicine either". I've already decided that if he goes down he's getting fluids. He can bring it up with God later and blame me if he wants to.