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Questions Every Non-Muslim Has for Muslims during Ramadhan

“Do you have to eat dates only?”

Questions Every Non-Muslim Has for Muslims during Ramadhan
Original Image: Mukesh Gupta & Playbuzz
We’re almost half way through the holy month of Ramadhan, and before you know it, it’s already Hari Raya. Ramadhan is arguably one of the favourite months for Muslims and non-Muslims because not only do we Muslims get to fulfil the third pillar from the Five Pillars of Islam (Rukun Islam), we also get to share the glorious foods with everyone via the bazaar Ramadhan. 

Since we live in a multi-racial country, each and every one of us practice different beliefs and have different cultures. Because of this, naturally some of us might have questions for each other to understand their culture better. Ramadhan is no exception, it's normal that we Muslims will be asked a throng of questions to satisfy their curiosity. These are some of the questions that we’ve been asked in the past:

Do you have to bukak puasa on time? What happens if you’re 10 seconds late?

Tick tock tick tock
We break our fast once the azan (call for prayer) is played during Maghrib. In Malaysia, the call for prayer is usually 7-ish pm, and yes, it is compulsory for us to berbuka on time or as soon as possible. But it’s not a sin if we can’t break our fast on time depending on the situation. For example, if you’re stuck in traffic and you have no food with you. 

Do you only have to eat dates during Ramadhan?

Image: SE88.1 FM
Haha, not really! We understand that dates are often associated with Ramadhan because it is part and parcel of our culture but no, you can eat basically anything you want and it’s not a sin if you don’t eat it.

Can you drink water?

That glass of water sure looks tempting during Ramadhan...
Fasting means that a person has to abstain completely from eating, drinking, smoking, and any sexual intercourse before the break of dawn until sunset throughout Ramadhan. So no, we can’t drink anything until we break our fast. 

Do you lose weight?

We look forward to the results at the end of Ramadhan!
It actually depends on the person, but for most of us, yes. It’s because of our reduced food intake or some of us just happen to have a super high and efficient metabolism.

Is it okay if I eat or drink in front of you?

We don't mind lah, guys.
By all means, please help yourself! We don’t mind at all, we understand that sometimes you may feel guilty for doing so, but rest assured it’s not a problem for us. Although we fast, sometimes we also have to take care of our children and elderly folks by feeding them, so we're already used to people eating in front of us. Those who usually makes noise are the adults who act like 7-year-old kids who just started to learn how to fast.

How do you adjust during the first few days? Don’t you get hungry?

We're A-OK!
Because it’s an annual thing, we kinda get used to it. Plus, we’ve been taught to fast from a very young age so we’re mentally prepared to go through it. Sure, the first few days may be challenging especially when it’s lunch hour but that’s the whole point of fasting and it’s a good experience as we can understand the hardship that some of the unfortunate people who go through days without food.

Does it affect your work productivity? Do you cut down your work load?

Sometimes when our stomachs grumble, it can be a little intimidating.
Some companies who do manual labour especially outdoors may have their work load lessen but it depends on the job scope and the company’s policy. Usually for us who are slaving off behind our desks, fasting or not, it’s basically the same. In terms of productivity, it may affect us a little bit especially when you’re so accustomed to drinking coffee to start your day. Do forgive us if our brain tends to work a little sluggish this month.

Is there any type of food you can’t eat during berbuka?

We can eat anything our hearts desire, guys.
Nope, you can eat all you want! If there’s anything you can’t eat, it’s probably medical related. Well, you don’t want to break fast with a glass of carbonated drink after a whole day of not eating, do you?

Until when do you get to eat?

We have a time-limit we need to observe.
We get to eat from Maghrib until Subuh which is before the break of dawn. In Malaysia, we only fast for about 14 hours. There are some Muslims in other countries that go through a more challenging Ramadhan as they fast up to 22 hours like in Iceland.

Hope this clears up some of the questions that’s been bugging anyone. We wish all of our Muslim friends Ramadhan Mubarak and may we be blessed in this holy month.