Month: September 2006

Desert, mostly

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Kuwait. A long, thin drinkawater of a country, approximately one-third the size of Wales. Most of the inhabitants are coastal, and Kuwait City to the Saudi border is one long suburban sprawl. A car seems to be essential, preferably huge, 4WD with a highly efficient air conditioner, but in the interim, taxis will have to do. The bus service is cheaper, but less regular. The 120kph freeway limit is, remarkably, adhered to with some rigour, most cars and all the taxis having audible speed limiters. This of course is the Holy Month of Ramadan, let joy be unconfined. I though a colleague was joking when she told me that the police will arrest anyone caught smoking in public, apparently not. Spending the rest of Ramadan in a Kuwaiti jail isn’t tempting, thus I have to be more self-controlled than usual, which is hard for me.
The Month of Ramadan is also when it is believed the Holy Quran “was sent down from heaven, a guidance unto men, a declaration of direction, and a means of Salvation”. Excellent.
Ramadan is a time when Muslims are supposed to concentrate on their faith and spend less time on the concerns of their everyday lives. It is a time of worship and contemplation, or so I am told…
One is not allowed to eat or drink during the daylight hours. Smoking and sexual relations are also forbidden during fasting. At the end of the day the fast is broken with prayer and a meal called the iftar. In the evening following the iftar it is customary for Muslims to go out visiting family and friends, which is why you can never get a parking space in the mall.

According to the Quran:
One may eat and drink at any time during the night “until you can plainly distinguish a white thread from a black thread by the daylight: then keep the fast until night”
The good that is acquired through the fast can be destroyed by five things –

  • the telling of a lie
  • slander
  • denouncing someone behind his back
  • a false oath
  • greed or covetousness

All very fine. Doesn’t help that everyone’s blood sugar is lowered thus bad temper is commonplace., so roll on 24th October, and Eid. The towers in the image are quite spectacular when seen close up..

 

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