lördag 4 juni 2016

Ramadan tough trial for Muslims

Ramadan starts next week. It occurs about eleven or twelve days earlier each year due to the lunar Islamic calendar. It is a peculiarly tough, indeed, cruel, fast, from dawn to sunset for a month. No water is allowed, so people get dehydrated. After sunset, the practice is to eat a very substantial meal, which means that they get a poor night's sleep as well. Many people will be fit for nothing next day, and certainly not for work. I would not want to be on a bus driven by someone who has been following this regime.

This year it is particularly hard on Muslims in northern latitudes where the nights are short. There are divergent views on how this problem should be dealt with. If Islam was meant to be a religion for the whole of mankind as it claims to be, the curious thing is that this was not foreseen at the outset. Travellers in classical times had long visited the far northern latitudes and the greater seasonal variation in day length must have been well known even in Saudi Arabia. But one can continue in the same vein. The Romans used the Julian calendar with a year of 365.25 days, and the Jews had a mixed lunar/solar calendar which is slightly more accurate. So why, in the seventh century, would anyone have chosen to use a calendar with a year which was eleven days short?

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