I’m visiting Turkey right now, and two days of my stay will overlap with Ramadan, starting tomorrow.

It’s a country where it’s very hard to get away from religion in the best of times. (Plus everyone always assumes everyone else is Muslim.) Now, on the eve of Ramadan, it’s all Islam all the time. I’ve already had enough. At least I’m in a big city, so I expect I’ll still be able to get some food and drink during the daytime in areas tourists are likely to hang around in.

About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons

    I noticed in the paper that the predicted high for today in Baghdad is 124 degrees. The predicted low was 91. Now, are these poor sons of bitches really expected to drink no water during Ramadan when it is 120 degrees? Is this for real? If it is, how many really abide by the rule? If they do obey the rule, how many just drop dead?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10778996187937943820 Taner Edis


    Yes, you're expected to fast, no matter what time of year. (It's interesting to note that the claimed fırst Ramadan seasons when first instituted by Muhammad were all in the winter.)

    Some people might die if they're overzealous. Technically, it's not supposed to happen, because there are exceptions to fasting granted for serious health problems, soldiers at war, etc.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons


    Amazing. And to think that in elementary school I used to feel sorry for the Catholic kids who couldn't eat meat on Fridays. I'm hardly an expert, but I would think that even the most moderate activity in 120 degrees would very quickly dehydrate you, leading to serious risks. This seems like an extraordinary requirement to me. Most religious duties and proscriptions just require things that are inconvenient or silly, like not drinking coffee or not eating shellfish or not cutting your hair or beard. Right off the top of my head this is the only one that I can think of that is downright dangerous.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11983601793874190779 Steven Carr

    Why do religious people thank their god for the food he has given them and then refuse to eat it?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10778996187937943820 Taner Edis


    Often what happens is that you hunker down and don't do anything in the daylight hours. Certainly life doesn't go on in its normal rhythm, with just some fasting added on top.

    I've run into mentions of studies that show that economic productivity in Muslim countries dips considerably during Ramadan. I haven't actually looked them up, though they sound plausible.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09204088792462782905 Happy Spider

    What is it like at night in Ramadan? It could be fun if people prayed to make up for asti g during the day. But maybe they don't do that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02741810720573398765 Anna

    people i respect your pionts of views but Ramadan is for people who are healthy. People who are weak or sick are forbidden to have Ramadan.
    Next thing Ramadan is a period where muslims don't eat to show their concern for poor people.Ramadan is the period where lot of people give lot of money to organisations who helps poor people in own country or or other.
    I don't have any intentions to offend you,i just spoke the truth. Next time search up things you don't know before you say bullshit.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02741810720573398765 Anna

    "Ramadan (Turkish:Ramazan) (Arabic: رمضان‎ Ramaḍān, Arabic pronunciation: [rɑmɑˈdˤɑːn]) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sexual intimacy with their partners[1] during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to God. Muslims fast for the sake of God (Arabic: الله‎, trans: Allah) and to offer more prayer than usual. Compared to the solar calendar, the dates of Ramadan vary, moving backwards by about eleven days each year depending on the moon; thus, a person will have fasted every day of the calendar year in 34 years' time. Muslims believe Ramadan to be an auspicious month for the revelations of God to humankind, being the month in which the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Islamic prophet, ""For the year of 1432 Hijri, the first day of Ramadan was determined to be August 1, 2011."
    "Whoever is sick or on a journey, then a number of other days. God desires ease for you, and desires not hardship. Thus may you fulfil the number of days assigned, magnify God for having guided you, and perhaps you will be thankful."
    "Charity is very important in Islam, and even more so during Ramadan. According to tradition, Ramadan is a particularly blessed time to give in charity, as the reward is 70[15] times greater than any other time of the year. For that reason, Muslims will spend more in charity (sadaqa), and many will pay their zakat during Ramadan, to receive the blessings (reward). In many Muslim countries, it is not uncommon to see people giving food to the poor and the homeless, and to even see large public areas for the poor to come and break their fast. It is said that if a person helps a fasting person to break their fast, then they receive a reward for that fast, without diminishing the reward that the fasting person got for their fast."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons


    I reserve the right to form my own opinion about who is uttering "bullshit."

    At the latitude of Baghdad, the time between dawn and dark at this time of year is about fourteen hours. Last week, high temperatures in Baghdad were 120 degrees Fahrenheit, in a city with little air conditioning. This week, highs have "cooled" to just above 110 degrees. A desert climate at 120 degrees can drain three quarts of water from the body in an hour. I am merely mildly asking whether in such a climate even healthy people should desist from drinking water for fourteen hours, especially if they have even modest activities to perform.

    Perhaps the "bullshit" factor would be lowered if you would cite expert medical opinion in your response rather than scripture and pious platitudes.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02741810720573398765 Anna

    if you want an answer on that,why don't you ask the others living there?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons


    Good advice! That is why I asked Taner, who used to live in a middle eastern country and who travels there often.

    BTW, Anna, at Secular Outpost we try to maintain a bit more civil a level of discourse than some other sites do. If you are going to post comments here, I would like to ask you to respect that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02741810720573398765 Anna

    ok I'm sorry for that.Maybe because i'm still young(18years old).Anyway I like this blog! Keep it up!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16641266062186767500 Keith Parsons


    Sounds good! Thanks for the thumbs-up and we welcome your comments.

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