Freedom of fasting
This year, for the first time in many years, I’m not fasting during Ramadan. When a local asks me if I’m fasting and I tell him I’m not, usually it’s not a big deal. I’m a foreigner, so I’m free to do whatever I want in their opinion.
Once upon a time, I was a Muslim. I was fasting, praying, wearing a veil and I even have a certificate from Al Azhar institute that says that I am a Muslim. Now luckily for me, I don’t have any kind of ID saying that I’m a follower of religion X or Y (In most Arab countries the religion is mentioned on the ID of the person). Many things changed over the years and now I’m not a believer anymore. I can write down on this page that I’m no longer a Muslim, but if a stranger asks me in public what I am, I’ll tell them I am a Muslim, just for the sake of peace.
Now back to Ramadan. This morning I took a taxi and the driver was smoking. It’s my first time this Ramadan that I see closely an average Arab Muslim not fasting. I asked him if it was OK if I lit a cigarette. He didn’t mind as long as I watch out for the police. After a while we started talking and he told me he wasn’t fasting, because it’s his belief that everyone is free to do what he or she wants. I was amazed by his honesty. I know of several people that don’t fast in Ramadan, but they will never say it out loud and will eat, drink or smoke far away from people that could see them and judge him. My big question is: Why so much hypocrisy?
Once upon a time religion would not be a complicated issue here in Jordan. I mean: either you were Muslim or Christian. Things have changed over the years and some people became agnostic or atheist. Now this is a big thing to talk about, it’s a complicated topic, so I’ll write about that in a later post.