5:30 A.M. groaning as your siblings, mom, or alarm wake you up WAY earlier than you are supposed to. You throw the blankets off of yourself, stumbling into the kitchen. Deciding what to eat for breakfast while still bleary-eyed, almost burning yourself with the stove because you have to eat eggs and turkey bacon for that protein. After enacting a morning prayer, you go back to bed for an extra 30 minutes. You must endure a foodless day until sunset.
That’s what a normal Ramadan morning sounds like to me! While many may have read that and thought, “That would be one of the hardest days of my life,” consider the fact that most Muslims go through that routine every year for 30 WHOLE DAYS. In a row. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? While many people wake up at that time and maybe even earlier, going the rest of the day without fuel makes it feel 10 times harder, and some days, I’ll be honest, it is. And it certainly doesn’t help when people say or do a ton of things that make it so much harder, intentionally or not.
So, here is a little Do’s and Don’ts guide I made for those of you who want to help make this holy month a whole lot easier for the Muslims in your life!
DO: Ask them questions about Ramadan!
Many of us love to answer questions from curious people. It feels good to talk about something we know a lot about! But, you must be kind and courteous. Don’t just ask about every single food and drink you can think of and whether or not we can eat it, exclaiming “oh my god I could NEVER.” Yeah bestie, me neither, ‘cause now I’m hungry.
DON’T: Bring us food when you know we are fasting.
Whether you forget it’s Ramadan or do it on purpose, I will be grabbing it and shoving it in my purse for later. I don’t care if it’s ice cream and I can’t eat it for another 6 hours. I will take it just to not give you the luxury of eating it. Also, it is kind of annoying! Try to understand that it is already a little hard without someone offering me food, so imagine how hard it is when I see that delectable goody and you hand it to me!
DO: Ask if it’s okay to eat in front of people who are fasting.
Some people may feel uncomfortable with others eating near them when they aren’t. It can make them hungrier (which is something that we definitely don’t want happening). So, don’t feel embarrassed or annoyed! It is just a preference for some, and others won’t mind!
DON’T: Ask THAT question.
NO. NOT EVEN WATER. I miss Mrs. H2O and I don’t need reminding.
DO: Check up!
Many Muslims will be tired after getting up really early while also not eating or drinking during the workday. So, check up! Even though this isn’t a punishment of any sort and we are glad to do it, it still feels good to have a sense of community with the people around us that know what we are going through!
DON’T: Tell people to “Just stop if it’s hard”
Man…like, do I have to explain? If someone is doing something for their culture or religion, why would they stop? This question makes me cringe. I don’t tell you to stop doing what makes you happy, so don’t tell me to stop, capeesh?
DO: Ask to eat with them!
Ramadan is a time of community for many Muslims, and sometimes not having one in “Al-Balad” (the homeland) is hard. That being said, eating a huge feast with others at the end of the day is something we enjoy! It is so fun to be surrounded by food and people who care about you during a holy time!
The sun is down and it is time to eat! I’ve watched so many Mukbangs that I don’t even know what I’m craving, but I know I’ll be full after 2 bites of anything! Taking part in Ramadan has been a super important part of my life since I was younger. Growing up, explaining to my friends why I can’t eat their birthday cake, or having to wait at a restaurant with my food right in front of me, steaming and savory, just counting the seconds until I could eat, was obviously discouraging.
Ramadan is a time for Muslims to think about all the good and blessed things they have in their life, including friends and the people who care about them most! Seeing more and more people begin to understand and be respectful of Islam is so heartwarming! Enjoy this list, your Muslim friends, and the amazing food that comes out of this month!