Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It’s iftar somewhere…

Egypt has this magical way of doing whatever it wants whenever it wants regardless of what consequences it might have.

For example, the end of daylight savings was magically moved to Friday, August 21st this year, which happens to correspond precisely with the first day of Ramadan 1430—or the 22nd of August, 2009. The idea is that they’ll get to iftar just that much sooner, I guess. The irony is that the fasting schedule follows the rising and setting of the sun, not what hour the clock reads so technically putting the clocks back an hour does nothing to bring iftar sooner.

But, hey, it’s iftar somewhere, right?

I wonder how fair that really is—changing the time in order to fast “less” time—for Muslims elsewhere in the world. What about Muslims living in Iceland or Nunavut or Russia or other areas in the extreme northern hemisphere—the land of the midnight sun (and/or white nights)? When do they get to eat?

It would be awesome when Ramadan falls over the winter months, but currently Ramadan is heading toward the earlier summer months. Hopefully they Muslims, as the Jews, have made a separate law for people living in polar regions. If not, I really pity them.

During Ramadan many people make a pilgrimage of sorts to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, apparently, though I’m not sure how many, really. What with all the traveling, Egypt is worried that H1N1 will be brought back to Egypt from abroad. In order to prevent the spread of this disease that hypothetically will be brought to Egypt from Saudi Arabia by some pilgrim, schools have been ordered to close until October 3rd.

This includes universities.

This means that Andrew won’t have class until then.

And, like the rumor circulating that Egypt will be going back on daylight savings until Europe switches in October, there are rumors circulating that schools won’t be given permission to open until later in October, or possibly not until December or January.

Hajj this year falls in late November (projected to be November 25–29, but we’ll see depending on the cycle of the moon) and since Hajj is the real time for pilgrimage to Mecca (not Ramadan) many more people will be making a trip to Saudi Arabia then, which means that they could hypothetically bring back the H1N1 virus with them, which means that schools will probably be closed again, or be kept closed until then.

But that’s all just speculation.

What I know for sure is that Andrew won’t be starting classes at least until October 4th. And we were so looking forward to getting off the Ramadan schedule and onto a regular routine of sorts. That won’t be happening for a while.

I shudder to think what the makeup schedule will entail, but I guess we’ll just press through that, too. My biggest fear is that this will put us behind schedule for graduation. Is it bad luck to voice your biggest fear about something? Because I really, really want Andrew to finish when planned. We have places to go and people to see…


  1. I think I read somewhere that Muslims in the far north just pick a schedule to follow (like Cairo's or wherever) for Ramadan. You have to admit, it makes sense.

  2. Well I think I should clarify something... it's iftar whenever the sun sets. The trick with changing daylight saving time is that the sun sets at an earlier hour. People still break their fast when the sun sets. The thing is, they start their fast earlier in the day, which doesn't make a difference since everyone's asleep anyway at the beginning of the fast.

  3. This is Egypt's plan this year:

    Midnight August 10th – Back 1 hour, Midnight September 9th – Forward 1 hour, Midnight September 30th – Back 1 hour.