Fasting for a month may renew the spirit but it often does little to reduce waistline. What happens between dusk and dawn – gorging, inactivity and disrupted sleep – Muslims often stay up until 4 a.m. to eat a last meal before sunrise, often packs on the pounds in a population already struggling with one of the highest obesity rates in the world.
LA Times Many Muslims tend to overeat upon breaking their fast, and usually the meal involves heavy, fatty foods that are high in calories,” Dr. Al Madani, head of Emirates Diabetes Society, told TradeArabia, an online news site.
The breaking of the fast usually begins with fresh dates and lots of water, followed by soups and juices, including a popular one made from berries and topped with pine nuts. Soon after evening prayers, a large meal called iftar is shared. The feasting continues after dinner as Egyptians visit with family and friends. Special desserts such as creamy konafa and syrupy basboussa are served throughout the night. The next meal, or sohour, comes just before morning prayers; there are more sweets to supply fuel through the day’s fast.
This is repeated for 30 days.
Patheos Not eating all day and having your stomach shrink in size is usually an effective way to shed a few pounds. Yet, many Muslims gain weight during Ramadan. Why? We become fat morons who stuff our faces senseless with the unhealthiest foods possible. There’s no better way to get in touch with your spiritual side then by eating yourself into a carb coma. Everything we consume is fried, breaded, greasy, or abnormally sweet. The craving for empty calories and saturated fats infects your decision-making process.
You start making odd demands: “I want French fries ON my slice of pizza.” You get creative in how you can cram the most food inside of you: “If I let the ice cream melt, I can use it as a drink to wash down my cheesesteak!”
It’s supposed to be a month of simplicity. The traditional food for breaking one’s fast is a date. It’s a sweet, refreshing fruit that is light, yet filling. But when you deep-fry it and cover it in bleu cheese? Now we’re talking!
Not being able to place anything in your mouth for 12 or more hours doesn’t exactly keep your breath fresh. On top of that, imagine the last thing you had in your mouth was some greasy fried amorphous blob, a glass of milk, or an onion stuffed with garlic. (OK, so no one would actually eat the last one, but that’s what most Indo-Pakistani Muslims’ houses smell like.) By not introducing new flavors and scents into the stale warmth of your mouth, a stagnant, toxic stank incubates within your jowls, creating a vapor of lethal toxicity that when released is capable of singeing the eyebrows of innocent bystanders.
If you’re around a fasting Muslim, keep your distance. As for hungry eyes, by no means am I referring to Eric Carmen’s hit from the ‘80’s. (Think Dirty Dancing. Actually, if you’re a fasting Muslim, don’t think of that at all.) I refer to that mile-long, off in the distance, unblinking stare that spontaneously appears on the face of a fasting Muslim. If you witness this, that means the person has stopped listening to you and is longing for the taste of anything – fantasizing about feta cheese and dark chocolate, together. In a bowl of mustard. With pickles.
Zombie: A being of the night bent on feeding its most primal hunger.
A Fasting Muslim: A being of the night heaven-bent on feeding its most primal hunger.
In other words, try not eating all day, stuffing yourself late at night, standing and prostrating in prayer for an hour or so afterward, waking up at 4:15 a.m. to stuff food in your face before the morning prayer, laying down afterward for just enough time to get extremely tired but not to fall asleep, and then getting up and ready for work to do your job without eating or drinking. Now do that for 30 days.
So, why do Muslims eat more when they’re fasting than when they’re not fasting? Why put a mask of piety on gluttony?
From David Wood of Answering Muslims
The answer, I think, lies at the very heart of Islam. Islam does not make people more holy or spiritual. Rather, it gives them a religious framework for carrying their desires to perverse extremes.
If a non-Muslim man hits a few clubs and somehow manages to have sex with ten women in one day, Islam will condemn him as a fornicator. But if this same man converts to Islam, marries four women, and takes six sex-slaves as his captives after a battle, he can be perfectly righteous before Allah, even if he has sex with ten women in one day.
Likewise, if a man hires a prostitute and sleeps with her, he has sinned, according to Islam. But if the same man sets up a “temporary marriage” (a practice called “Muta“), he can hire the same prostitute, for the same amount of time, have sex with her in the exact same way, and bear no shame whatsoever in the Muslim community.
If a psychopath goes on a killing spree, brutally murdering men, women, and children, he is surely going to hell, according to Islam—unless, of course, he is killing men, women, and children in a terrorist attack for the sake of Allah, in which case his violent massacre will earn him a one-way ticket to Paradise.
Even according to Muslim sources, the tribes of Mecca were violent, lascivious, and gluttonous. Muhammad didn’t change their behavior by forcing them to convert to Islam. He simply made their violence, lasciviousness, and gluttony pleasing to Allah. Should we be surprised that Ramadan is a month-long feast that Muslims call “fasting”?