Thursday, August 11, 2011

10 days and counting...

Today is August 11th, which means my 10th day of fasting.  No water or food from sunup (about 330am) until sundown (about 730pm).  It also means 10 days of lfdur (break-fast) with various families in my community… Its been really interesting to see peoples reactions when I tell them I’m fasting.  Tonight I thought I’d write up some of the various… situations that fasting has resulted in.  Read and enjoy (and comment!)

Tonight I was chatting with Caity on the phone.  Shes also fasting, so we have phone dates at night after breakfast to help each other stay awake and also just to catch up.  We were talking about how on the first day of fast we both had a moment where we asked ourselves if we could brush our teeth.  I seriously sat in front of the mirror for about 10 minutes wondering if I was technically ‘allowed’ to do this.  I mean, I’m not eating the toothpase, right?  But what if a little accidently goes down my throat?  Then am I not technically fasting?  I think it quite interesting that both of us thought twice about brushing even though neither of us are fasting for religious reasons.  I guess that’s just what happens when you’ve been in country for 16 months. 
Can you brush your teeth during the fasting hours of ramadan?
Answer: yes because tooth paste is not something you consume (fasting or not you spit it out). Of course you should be careful with the water and make sure you don't swallow any. But if you do swallow by accident then it does not break your fast. Allah swt says : And there is no sin for you in the mistakes that ye make unintentionally.) (Al-Ahzab 33: 5)The Prophet saws also said : "My nation shall not be held accountable for the mistakes they do unintentionally, out of forgetfulness, and under duress." (Reported by Ibn Majah) And Allah swt knows best

My second major fasting dilemma was if I should take my inhailer.  I mean, technically I’m not supposed to eat anything, right?  So should I be breathing things in either?  In the end I decided I’d just do it…. I guess I’d rather ‘breakfast’ and be able to breathe than risk an asthma attack in the mountains of Morocco.

If I have asthma, can I still use my puffer when I’m fasting?

Yes, you can still use your puffer during Ramadan without breaking your fast. This is because it is simply compressed air that you are inhaling into your lungs.

On my first day of fasting I decided (like the rest of my village) to take it easy and hang out in my house.  Us PCVs spend a lot of time sharing and watching variously downloaded tv shows and movies.  One of my new favorites has become Parenthood.  So I sit down, with my fan blowing on me to settle in and watch a few episodes.  Its only about 12 by now, so I have about 7 more hours ahead of me.  Well, well… guess what episode I’m on?  That’s right… the Thanksgiving one.  Being here in Morocco any show about or featuring food is hard to watch, since cravings for things such as bacon, cheese, alcohol and other delicious foods we take for granted in America are quite common.  But sitting through that episode, without my morning cup of coffee and knowing I wouldn’t be able to each for another 7 hours-  well, that, my friends, was rough.    

Many people in my community ask if I’m fasting, since its very public knowledge that I didn’t last year.  One of my favorite, and perhaps most hilarious moments thus far has been when an old man in my Souk asked if I was fasting.  I told him yes, and then he called me a liar.  After a few rounds of “no, I’m not lying” he pointed out that I was wearing chapstick.  Well, yes, I am- of course. Its hot outside, I’m thirsty and I always wear chapstick, I explained.  (Side note, I had no idea what the word for chapstick might be so I kept calling it medicine for lips).  So while I’m trying to defend myself to this man about my medicine for lips he continues to call me a liar.  Finally after about 10 minutes of me  explaining I don’t in-fact eat the stuff, I give up and tell him fine- I’m not fasting.  He kindly smiled and me and said goodbye.  You win that round, old man.

Can I wear lip gloss in Ramadan?

Yes, you can wear lip gloss to moisten your lips when you are fasting, as long as you do not swallow it.

Lots of other things have happened in the last 10 days including getting a free half kilo of bananas from my vegetable guy because he was so happy I was fasting, almost passing out because of standing up too fast, lots of hours of saying “yes, Ramadan is hard” to various friends and explaing to people that just because I’m fasting I’m not becoming a Muslim.  Overall, its been a tough but interesting experience…. Lets see what the next 19-20 days have in store!

Ps.  While looking up the few questions I had I found this interesting website that had a lot of answers to the questions I had about Ramadan…. Check it out if you're interested!


  1. You are brave to do the fasting. Don't endanger your health and DO drink if you think you need it.

  2. I am very proud and excited to hear about PVC who aren't Muslim fasting! Three cheers Don't forget to stay hydrated!!