Sugar Crashes And Nicotine Withdrawal: No Wonder #Ramadanproblems Has Gone Viral

#ramadanproblems has gone viral over the last few days, but what does Muslim writer Farah Osman think of Ramadan in the modern age?


by Farah Osman |
Published on

'That’s it, I’m going to quit. It’s not worth it. Nothing is worth this torture.'

No, these are not the thoughts of a person frustrated with their soul-sucking job. This is my internal monologue every single morning during Ramadan. Ramadan, for the uninitiated, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which muslims observe from fasting between dawn and dusk. That's no food, no drink, no water, no nothing. And from caffeine withdrawal pangs to sugar-crashes, Ramadan brings with it a host of unique experiences. Not all of them ideal. No wonder the hashtag #ramadanproblems has pretty much gona viral on TwitterandInstagramover the last few days.


Here's the truth behind that hashtag:

**The first few days are hell **

The excitement of the first few days of Ramadan are often marred by a whirlwind of different withdrawals. Whatever your vice – cigarettes, caffeine, or just plain old food – the first days of Ramadan can be brutal. As a result, be forewarned – office politics take on a whole new level intensity and family drama soars as sugar levels plummet.

**You're still expected to behave like a functioning human being **

Going into work during Ramadan, you are faced with the realisation that yes, you are indeed expected to be a functioning human being and a productive member of this organisation. If you live and work in a predominantly Muslim country, then luckily for you, the overwhelming majority of those around you will also inevitably cave into the lethargy of Ramadan. In the weeks before, any Muslims in the world of work is repeatedly warned – ‘you know how it is during Ramadan, things slow down!’ As we mentally prepare ourselves for what is to come. During Ramadan, work hours are decreased and our poor emaciated brain can’t function. After Ramadan? Well then comes Eid vacation! Oh, and throw in a two-week buffer after Eid for good measure too – you know, until people get into the swing of things. Productive? Not so much.

If you work mostly with non-Muslims then you won't get the same leeway when it comes to your productivity levels. The good news is, they'll be far too self-conscious to eat anywhere near you, which means you won't be tempted to snatch that cheese sandwich out of your coworkers hands during your lunch time crash.

**Breaking your fast is never that much fun

**After a long day of religiously-prescribed starvation comes the social phenomenon known as the 3ozooma – a large family gathering where everyone breaks their fast together, and a staple of Ramadan culture. Sometimes it’s just family, and sometimes it’s everyone you know and their mother. And it's almost always overwhelming. In a month centred around self-discipline and empathy for the less fortunate, these opulent gatherings are a gluttonous display featuring every possible food you could imagine. The best part? Despite your desire to devour everything in your way, and your daily conviction that today is the day you carnal instincts will kick in, you'll be stuffed after just a few bites. Bonus for those wanting to loose a bit of weight.


Ramadan TV is kind of awesome

In Arab countries, Ramadan is overwhelmingly known for two things – TV shows and advertising campaigns. It's basically the one time of year when all the television is made - the rest of the time we watch the reruns. Basically, imagine if an entire year's worth of Sky Atlantic shows were released in one week - it's just like that. In Egypt where my family is from, never will you see a more elaborate display of television scheduling than the one carefully constructed by Arab housewives during Ramadan. I watch daily as my mom consults an excel sheet with the Ramadan TV shows (60+ this year), their air times, and the channels they air on. Wading through a jenga-like schedule, every click of the remote is calculated, and every channel switch is carefully weighed out. It takes a certain artistry to orchestrate a full media siege for an entire month, but the Arab matriarch reigns supreme during this fortnight (sorry Dad).

Back to Basics

Every year, I can't help but notice how the execution of Ramadan is in stark contrast to its original intentions. Spirituality, reflection, simplicity, gratitude, and a multitude of beautiful principles are replaced by bright lights and big TV productions, multi-million dollar ad campaigns, and extravagant dinner parties. It's become a month when quiet reflection is replaced by noisy cafes, and feeding the soul isn’t as important as feeding your guests with the latest novelty desert (red velvet konafa, anyone?).

But nonetheless, when Muslim people are accused of being detached from our cultural roots, rejecting our own traditions and desperately striving for Western cultural appropriation, this is a month where we are all united in our culture. Whenever you are in the world, Muslims all feel the same hunger pangs during this period. Whether you are blessed with a daily feast, or struggle to scrap together a meal for your family, we are all taking the first bite at the exact same moment. That’s special, and I can live with everything else.

Follow #ramadanproblems and take comfort in knowing you’re not the only one losing your mind. Now excuse me while I go get myself a piece of Ferrero Rocher konafa. To. Die. For.

Follow Farah on Twitter @froosterO

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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