The Ramadan diaries #4: Tales of moon sightings and moon fighting in the final week

By Iram Ramzan, Social Affairs Correspondent

I won’t lie – it’s been a tough month. When I wake up I think to myself, “oh this is eeeeeasy, pfft, I don’t feel hungry at all”, but later I end up eating my own words when I’m sitting opposite my colleagues who are munching away. 

I literally have no thoughts in my head all day and find it hard to concentrate on anything.

All week I’ve been bombarded with one question: ‘When’s Eid?’ As I write this, Eid, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, has been announced for tomorrow (Tuesday).

Before you wish me ‘Happy Eid’ I still don’t know when we’re celebrating it. Confused? Let me explain. As the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle we have to wait until the new moon is sighted. In some countries it is visible in other it is not. And that is where it begins: the Eid controversy.

Every year the same debate crops up over when Eid is. Some choose to celebrate it when Saudi Arabia sights the moon and declares it to be Eid. Others will do it the day after when the moon is visible in their country or just to stick it to the Saudis.

“We don’t follow Saudis!” is what some of the local imams here will declare. As a result, no one celebrates Eid on the same day. This is clearly inconvenient for some people who need to cook a feast on the day. By some I don’t include me of course…

Eid at our home is very boring. Ditto when we see the relatives. We see each other nearly every week anyway and I’m always left to entertain the under-12s (how fun!) while the women discuss really interesting topics such as dinner sets and brand new cutlery, ingrown toenails and who’s divorced who.

Sometimes I’ll venture into the other room where the men are sitting when I’m bored, as their conversations are less dry. We don’t believe in segregation by the way but when there are so many people in the house that’s when women will sit in one room and men in the other. This is how it usually goes:

Uncle 1: (having spotted me in the doorway) “You ok Iram?”

Me: “Er…yeah…” (All the men will then stare at me as though I came down the chimney)

Uncle 2: “Ok…is the food ready?”

Me: “Er, no.”

After another 30 seconds of awkward silence and staring, I will then slinker off back to the women’s room where the topic will have moved on to bunions.

As mundane as it is, I still prefer it to going to the movies or cruising down Rusholme, like many of the youngsters do nowadays. God I sound old, don’t I?

I don’t know who started these trends but they’re rather embarrassing to Muslims or South Asians, more precisely.

While they’ll have been exercising restraint throughout Ramadan, they’ll let loose and drive around in cars with flags flying and drunk or stoned. Give me a boring dinner with the aunties any day!

My non-Muslim colleagues and friends have been asking me if I’ll miss Ramadan. It’s a hard one to answer if I’m very honest.

One the one hand it will be great to have regular eating and sleeping patterns again but on the other hand, it is a great month for contemplation and seeking inner peace. I did not find much peace this month, nor did I get find the answers that I’ve been searching for.

While others will say “ah well there’s always next Ramadan” I’ll use this month as a stepping stone instead of waiting another year. For who knows what will happen tomorrow.

Anyway! I wish all Muslims Eid Mubarak/Sa’eed (Blessed Eid). I know that on my way to work the day after, there’ll be a large cup of mocha with my name on it.


More related stories:

The Ramadan diaries: A Manchester Muslim on fasting, feasts and motivational texts

The Ramadan diaries #2: A Manchester Muslim on Ramadanitis, hummus and torsos

The Ramadan diaries #3: The resident Muslim on eating in secret, interrogation and Netanyahu

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