I’m Not Fasting and It’s Awkward

A month or so ago, my colleagues started asking when Ramadan was. The conversation made me think about how I would respond when, being a girl, I wouldn’t be able to fast everyday in Ramadan. I’m not the kind of person who’d happily say why not, but at the same time I’d want to avoid lying. I took to Twitter to ask my followers how they would deal with such a situation. but I think only about 10 of my followers actually read my tweets and none of them helped me out.

The first day of Ramadan was my last day at my work place, but I still felt I had to bring about awareness of this issue to my former colleagues. So, I sent them the following email:

Hi guys

Hope you’re all good.

In the interest of EDI* and to save both you and the other person from any awkwardness, I’d just like to point out a few reasons why a Muslim may not be fasting.

1) Women cannot fast when they’re on their periods.
2) Too ill
3) Travelling (long journey)
4) Pregnant

I wrote this message mainly because of point one. When I’m not fasting, I haven’t figured out whether it’s best to say I’m not or if it’s best to pretend I am. Some people may be interested and want to know more and then I’d have to explain why I wasn’t fasting. And I’d rather self-combust haha.

Anyway, I know there’s a few Muslim girls volunteering and I thought I’d send this for their benefit. If you want to ask them a question about fasting maybe rephrase it like “how’s Ramadan going?” or “how’s fasting going?” instead of “are you fasting *today*?” That’d be a lot less awkward for those who, like me, wouldn’t want to explain anything if they weren’t fasting on that particular day.

*EDI stands for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

I kept the email informal because I thought it’d be less awkward that way (I’ve omitted the end of the email which showed how informal it really was). Also, I’m not going to see them in a while so I didn’t need to worry about being embarrassed the next time I saw them.

But when I told my friends about it they couldn’t stop laughing. They said it sounded very awkward, which made it extremely funny. I had already sent the email by then and I began to think I made a mistake. I mean, I know it’s an uncomfortable topic to broach, but I didn’t think it was so bad, getting that reaction made me question my decision for a bit.

However, I came to the conclusion that it seems worse because they are outsiders reading this email, without knowing my colleagues and knowing how they’d react to it. I don’t think…and I hope…they wouldn’t have found it that bad!

If I had continued working I may have had to use a different method to make this point. I can imagine someone eventually saying something along the lines of, “Isn’t it hard fasting for a whole month?”, and I could’ve responded with “well, being a girl I don’t actually fast for the whole month”. Or maybe I would’ve just avoided the topic as best as possible.

I’m glad I don’t have to go through that dilemma for the moment!

If you would’ve tackled this any differently, leave a comment below to share your ideas 🙂


By: @Yellow_Lellow (MW Contributor)


20 thoughts on “I’m Not Fasting and It’s Awkward”

  1. It can be really awkward! In my office,i am the only muslim lady and when am not fasting i have to hide to eat..because they will definitely ask and when you tell them they take a closer look at you especially when you turn to leave..lol . Anyways, when they ask,i just tell them am not fasting,thats all..lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol lucky they didn’t ask any further questions.

      I was also the only Muslim at the office and (to them) more practicing than the previous Muslims that had worked there. I was told about someone who’d fast but then go out and secretly smoke, worrying Muslims walking by would judge.

      I know certain people are quite inquisitive anyway so would likely ask me why I wasn’t fasting but also I didn’t want to be misleading for the others and not be fasting for seemingly no reason despite them getting the impression Ramadan is important to me and I’m an “obdervant” Muslim.

      Like

  2. That’s how I explained it to my colleague but really, I don’t know why a biological fact is a taboo. :/

    Like

      1. Hmmmm but what’s so immodest about a biological fact? As a woman, I think it’s messed up. We bleed. Get over it. I don’t see it as immodest and my understanding of hayaa is modesty.

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        1. Something being modest doesn’t make it ok to talk about in public. For example everyone knows a baby is the result of sex however it’s not right to discuss intimate moments with others. Also everyone goes to the toilet but you don’t make specific comments about it. Similarly this issue is relating to women only and we know women companions used to ask questions about such matters but it was through Aisha (ra). So we learn that there should be no shame in learning but it was consodered immodest to directly ask the Prophet (saw) questions about pertaining to women only.

          Therefore as natural as it may be, and men should be understanding about the issue, but it shouldn’t really be talked about with men.

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  3. I’d not eat or drink while they r looking. In case they did and questioned me I would explain it to them that we are excused from fadting during our periods (if it is a female). It can ve embarrassing but we can’t just tell them “im not fadting because I am SICK” because we don’t want them to get the wrong message wch is whowver is just sick can refrain from it wch is not true. There is an intensity for the sickness if that is the reason so we must tell them the real thing in a softer tone. Most people respect it and don’t make fun or make it a joke.

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  4. Fasting is personal, as is ones period. I mean I find it really silly, how much of a difference does it make . It is general knowledge anyway so if a girl is not fasting immediately everyone will think that is the reason. ( though it’s a natural thing) I don’t want for people to know . So my choice would be to fast the entire month. And that’s that

    Like

    1. My colleagues were all non Muslims so they didn’t know.

      Allah has bestowed mercy upon us by allowing us to have a break from fasting while we are on our periods. It is from what He believes to be the best for us and we will hopefully be rewarded for listening to His command by not fasting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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