We have always talked about how the Muslims spend their month of Ramadan. We know that for Muslims it is a Holy month and they enjoy it a lot. We know that life in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan is totally different for Muslims. Yet, we need to throw some light upon the lives of non-Muslims during Ramadan.
There are a number of non-Muslims living in Saudi Arabia, do they enjoy the month of Ramadan or is it a challenge for them? For non-Muslims living in Saudi Arabia, the month of Ramadan comes with different experience. The lighted streets and reduced work hours are somehow enjoyed by our non-Muslim residents.
They call it an interesting phase of the year. Rita Walsh who is a lecturer at an Irish University in Jeddah claims that atmosphere during Ramadan is great and lovely. She enjoys the shorter working hours and long yet colorful nights. She also likes to see the markets opened till morning.
In Saudi Arabia, markets remain open till morning and food and sweets are sold there. Walsh says that her Muslim friends do invite her for iftar and she joins them. She claims that the month of Ramadan is a beautiful time of the year.
Muslims, after iftar, rush for markets to get their preparations done for their Eid. The markets look beautiful. A British photographer named Sebastian Farmborough who lives in Riyadh says that the month of Ramadan brings out the best of Muslims.
They become kind and helpful. They would greet you well even they encounter you in the street. They make all their efforts to help others. The most common scene that he observes in the streets of Kingdom is that people tend to give food to others.
During Iftar time in Saudi Arabia, people tend to distribute food among others. This tradition prevails across Saudi Arabia. Giving out food to people in the streets around iftar time is a common scene across the Kingdom. He loves to view that people fill up their cars with food and drive around to distribute among those who need it.
He says people become generous and kind which is actually very good. He says that a heart touching moment took place when he was offered food by a street cleaner. It was the food he was given during distribution and he offered me despite the fact that he himself had it as the only meal for himself.
Farnborough used to live in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia. He says that people there would invite him to iftar and even force him into the mosque so that he could join them for the iftar meal. That is great for people!
Commenting on the reduced working hours, he said that it is good as people get a chance to give more time to their families and friends. Even though non-Muslims enjoy the month of Ramadan, yet it comes with certain challenges, it is difficult for them to adjust to the new routine.
They can’t find food around as shops are closed until iftar time. Only grocery stores are opened. To respect their Muslim brother’s fast, they do not drink, eat or smoke in public places. Drinking or Smoking in Public during Ramadan can lead to serious consequences.
Source: Arab News