INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
Starting Wednesday, May 16,
you will notice that most of your Turkish friends will stop eating and drinking
during day time. Your gardner working in your yard under summer sun and soaked
with sweat will refuse to accept any food or drink during day time; don’t get
upset. That means they are fasting during the holy month of Ramadan (Ramazan in
Wednesday, more than one
billion of the world’s population will change their way of doing things
overnight. It is the work of God. The Islamic month of fasting, called Ramazan,
begins Wednesday, May 16, this year. This is the month where Moslems
commemorate the revelation of God’s gift to humanity, the Holy Koran.
Ramazan is considered to
be the Sultan of the Eleven Months since Prophet Mohammed started to
receive the Holy Koran in this month. It’s the month of great spiritual
and material blessings that Moslems all over the world are looking forward to.
The religion of Islam based on five principles:
Belief in one God and Prophet Mohammed as his messenger;
Prayer, five times daily;
Giving alms to poor and needy people;
Fasting during the holy month of Ramazan; and
Pilgrimage to Mecca and other holy sites in Saudi Arabia at least once in a
Ramazan is the ninth
month on the Islamic lunar calendar. The months on the lunar calendar begin and
end with the sighting of the new moon.
The lunar calendar is
10-11 days shorter than solar calendar and because of this, from year-to-year,
Ramazan rotates throughout the four seasons and rotates throughout every month
of the solar calendar.
Every Moslem should
observe the fast of Ramazan. Children, pregnant women, sick people, travelers
and soldiers at war are exempted from fasting. The fast starts daily from
almost one hour before sunrise to immediately after sunset.
During the daylight
hours one should abstain from food, drink and intimacy between husband and
wife. The fasting ones should not let anything go through their throat. They
should abstain from smoking as well. After the sunset, Moslems are permitted to
break the fast for the day.
However, one is not to
over eat, over drink or over indulge in any self-gratifying activities as this
can take away from the spirit of the fast.
The Ramazan fast is not
just a fast of physical food, or a fast for spiritual benefits, it’s a fast for
the benefit of the total person physically, spiritually and mentally. Moslems
fast for God’s pleasure. While fasting, Moslems are conscious of the need to
appreciate and respect both man and outer world as a creation of the Almighty
God. The fasting Moslems also get a better understanding for the needy ones who
cannot find food to eat.
Things to avoid during
the fast are the tendency to be spiritually idle or morally absentminded, and
the lazy tendency to miss daily prayers with no acceptable excuse.
The time one would spend
watching television, listening to music or playing sports should be spent in
prayer, contemplation and religious study. Moslems should read one thirtieth of
the Holy Koran each day so as to complete the reading over this 30 day fast
period. The time spent in devotion to God will help keep one in tune with the
spirit of the fast.
As being guests and
respecting the believes of our hosts, do not eat and/or drink anything in
public or streets during fasting hours in the month of Ramazan. Smoking is also
prohibited while fasting.
Ramazan ends on June 14
and the Moslem world observe a three-day Ramazan Festival starting on June 15-17.
Your Turkish co-workers,
maids, gardeners might be fasting. As a result of that, mainly in the
afternoons, their sugar level might drop, they might become nervous, less
conscious and weak, and some might feel dizzy. For that reason, you should be more
conscious about safety. Please pay more attention to the ones who operate
machines and vehicles. Drivers on base and off base might be very nervous and
drive more offensively. Especially right before fast breaking time in the
evenings, everybody rushes and becomes impatient, so drive offensively. Keep
those facts in mind and think of your own and the others’ safety during