Once again it’s that time of the year again when we Muslims fast for 30 days. This year seems to be more unusual for me than normal as I seem to have loads of people saying the same thing in shock – “you’re fasting???” It’s like the weekly shock when people find out I’m Muslim, but it seems to be more infuriating when asked if I’m really fasting.
There seems to be this perception by people in Dubai that I am not Muslim because I’m outspoken, “modern” and don’t cover up like a good Muslim girl should. I am of the view that religion (and politics) are personal matters and cause too much friction in our world. I therefore decided many years ago that I wouldn’t discuss the topic in public.
How I feel about Allah is my personal choice. I did lose my religion for a few years and it has taken me about four years to rediscover being a Muslim again. But during this time, I dealt with this matter on my own (except for a few conversations with my parents). My view is that it is Allah/God knows how you feel so why does anyone else need to know. If I want to pray I will pray. If i want to be a Muslim, its for me. If not, well my problem.
I feel strongly as well about people drumming religion into me. My pet peeve, especially at uni when the Al-Qaeda cells were trying to recruit me, is hearing people tell me, their Sister, how I should be a good Muslim woman. My retort was generally “Fuck off you twat”.
I know that I am not literate on my religion, but I also know that when the time is right I will learn more. Anyway I have read the Quran in full. That’s more than a lot of so-called good Muslims.
But anyway back to Ramadan. I don’t get excited like some people do when it comes close to Ramadan. Usually the feeling I feel is of dread. I’m a pansy and not eating, drinking, swearing or doing anything else for so many hours gives me shudder. But yet I still fast. You might wonder why. I actually don’t know why I do it, but I know it feels right when I fast and I do lose weight so it’s a bonus.
One part of fasting is to learn tolerance and I’m finding it really really hard this year. I have had people continuously questioning if I’m really fasting, taking the piss out of me or asking me if it’s my first time. How many times can you answer the bloody question and try to convince people that you really are Muslim and yes I’m really fasting. I’ve been fasting since I was at grammar school. During those years, it was summer in the UK so we had long hours, good weather and school. Try fasting during those times and then come whinging to me. I’m hardcore and no one bloody believes me in this town! The irony is that I would never get questioned like this in the UK. Friends would just accept it as something that I did as a Muslim, respect my choice and be kind enough to not eat in front of me or drink coffee (fasting and the smell of coffee don’t go).
Should I care that people perceive me to be this anarchist, atheist, pretend Muslim?? No, not really. But I need to respond to these doubters just to shut them up.
Of course there are a few people who have genuinely asked me whether I am fasting and have been sweethearts and I thank them for their wishes, but to the ones that just want to take the piss. Fuck off and start fasting, then come bother me.