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Ramadan and heatwave

(70 Posts)
LongStory Mon 15-Jul-13 21:45:36

I've got a lot of respect for the muslim faith and observation of Ramadan, but I'm finding it really difficult that some of the Yr 6 children at my kids' school are fasting in this heat. I worry about dehydration. How are schools dealing with this?

Fizzypop001 Sat 20-Jul-13 04:45:35

sorry mixture

Kirrin Sat 20-Jul-13 04:47:35

Cross post fuzzy I was responding to fizzy
It is interesting to see how a Muslim school is handling it. And yes, I think we can safely assume even one child ending up in A&E due to fasting would have the Daily Fail out in force!

Fizzypop001 Sat 20-Jul-13 04:54:24

well i can clearly see whats being said and dont like it but agree a gental explaination should have been done but scrolling down and reading other comments made me angry and upset as muslims have had negitive press and millions of muslims around the world are dying etc so muslims dont deserve to be accused of such things. muslims are just like anyone else of any other religion and background

Fizzypop001 Sat 20-Jul-13 04:59:57

and we should all support and help each other not their abusing manipulating their kids into fasting WHAT where did you get that from dont you think we have had enough from press and from whats happening round the world but no mumsnetters to where does the full stop come into play

Fizzypop001 Sat 20-Jul-13 05:22:35

again im sorry to op and its good to be curious about things and look for answers to those things no you where not expecting this but it was the other mumsnetters that made me angry and upset but im glad you got your answer through web and through other good mumsnetters but ill tell you one thing their is no need for concern as us parents are on it or the child may not be fasting at all which is most likely. its good to post questions about different religions but some people just get carried away and start imagining things and posting rubbish which does not exist in any religion

Kirrin Sat 20-Jul-13 06:51:06

Ramadan Kareem fizzy smile

Fizzypop001 Sat 20-Jul-13 10:38:40

thanks ramaden kareem to you too hope you have a peaceful year

NomDeClavier Sat 20-Jul-13 11:43:08

Not sure why you're singling me out when I said the children are unlikely be forced into fasting, whether that's deliberately withholding food, pressuring or manipulating, but hey ho. I clearly don't agree with the other posters down the thread that it's cruel or that it's too young full stop.

As long as children are being supported by school and family, educated about being careful and having allowances made to respect their fast then there's no reason to stop them. I can understand the importance of the fast and children naturally want to join in with what is a major event. I would be worried if they aren't bring supported because a Y6 child may find it difficult to limit themselves in their activities, or end up unhappy when other children are wafting ice creams around and asking (albeit innocently) why they can't even have a taste, or recognise by themselves when they've done too much before they're severely dehydrated. If a teacher knows nothing, if the parents haven't communicated this, it's difficult for the child to take an informed decision. They may assume that 'that's what fasting is like' and carry on.

I can understand your responses now fizzy and I can see your feeling very sensitive at the moment, which is understandable given the news recently, but instead of making generalisations and being aggressive remember that some people are concerned and want to be educated, some people have been educated and are still concerned because this year is unusually hot, and some people are concerned and don't want to be educated but need to be. Some people have probably only just found out that primary aged children may be fasting, either because they've reached puberty or because they are choosing to, during Ramadan and assume they're doing a full fast or whatever. Respond to the OP calmly and politely and don't attack people who are trying to support you or calm things down while still having their own POV.

I meant no harm, just didn't want it descending into a bunfight. It annoys me when anyone stereotypes. I hope I avoided it, although it's difficult to do on the net, because as with anything this is a very individual decision for children and their families and responses will vary between individual schools. Some will give excellent support and some will give none.

Ramadan Mubarak, fizzy and everyone else.

(And here's a change to educate me - Ramadan Kareem? I assume it means similar?)

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Sat 20-Jul-13 18:44:29

I was chatting to a colleague about this the other day - she was saying that kids are often desperate to join in and fast. She wasn't allowed until she was 11 and she was really cheesed off at her parents!

Fizzypop001 Sat 20-Jul-13 19:07:49

i know i got upset very quickly and attacked op which i should not have done and i think its very good to want to know about religions etc but for people to comment in the way they did was wrong and disrespectful. as people we should respect others and their beliefs and do not make things up. ramaden mubarak to everyone and hope people really think about what they say about other peoples religions without really understanding

littleducks Sat 20-Jul-13 19:14:14

I can understand concerns, it has been really hot and I think most people were surprised by the weather. However I'm pretty sure most people manage it sensibly and if they were not and lots of children were becoming ill we would have heard about it.

The fasts are long this year and it will be easier in the school holiday, and everyone can stay up later and rest/nap in the afternoon.

My daughter is desperate to fast but after considering her age (7) and the weather and the demands of school I like another poster on here have banned in term time this year. She was disappointed but we had a good chat about it and she accepted the decision.

One of her friends who is a bit older is fasting daily but only until dusk time in Mecca (about 6.30 ish) to make it easier on her. I know that at least one boy in the juniors intended to fast all day but felt a bit funny when there teacher decided to double PE lesson and turn all afternoon into an extended tennis tournemant (not sure it was the best decision personally for any of the children) and broke his fast. I think children can handle with great maturity.

pointythings Sat 20-Jul-13 19:20:39

A serious question - how do Muslims in the northernmost parts of Scandinavian countries (Iceland, Norway, Finland) manage Ramadan? At this time of year the sun hardly sets at all and daylight lasts for 23+ hours.

fuzzywuzzy Sat 20-Jul-13 22:52:50

Pointy they should fast & pray according to the timings of the nearest country where the times are distinguishable. This is only for countries where the days are such that there is no discernible sunrise or sunset.

LongStory Sat 20-Jul-13 23:11:01


Ramadan has really stood out and challenged our culture this year, and seeing the children join in, in such conditions, has made me do a lot of thinking about it, since my original post on Monday. I have also spoken to a few people about this issue, this week, possibly got some slightly more sensible replies!

Had a quick chat with the deputy head at the school during sports day and she said she was so inspired by the kids who were fasting, and that they were giving them time to rest and stay indoors in the relative cool. Fuzzywuzzy what you say about the school care of the kids is also very reassuring.

I was also delighted (as a result of one of these conversations) to be invited to Iftar with women at the local mosque. Skipped my tea, took some food along, and nom nom!

I doubt very much that I'll be converting from my faith, but Ramadan this year has certainly made me appreciate the blessings that I receive each day of food, drink and sleep.

LongStory Sat 20-Jul-13 23:21:13

Just saw the second page - thank you Fizzypop. When I realised that kids were fasting in this heat I was so worried, but I thought it would be better to ask a question about it rather than jump to all sorts of assumptions. And I think this thread has hopefully challenged a few of us!

Fizzypop001 Sat 20-Jul-13 23:53:27

im glad that ramadan this year has made you ask questions about our faith and you have got some good answers and got invited to iftar as well hope you enjoyed it. really happy you have learnt something and ihope you continue to ask questions and learn more about the different faiths without people being disrespectful. once you learn more about our religion then youll understand that those people being disrespectful know nothing at all if you want to thats up to you anyway thank you

Bakingnovice Sun 21-Jul-13 00:02:28

Also remember that some kids just want to do what patents and older siblings are doing. My bf is Muslim and she said her kids want to fast mainly because of the excitement of iftari time which is magical - having a feast at around 10pm must seem v exciting to a child. She also said her kids wouldn't be fasting but her 11 yr old ds would be allowed to keep one fast in the holidays. During this fast he would get lots of rest and spend his time praying, contemplating and watching tv. Nothing too physical. Muslims have fasted for centuries, they know what they're doing and I've never heard of any child being forced into it.

It's all so ironic in some ways. Dh used to work with a Muslim guy and every Ramadan there would be whispers around the office about this guys 'ability to concentrate and productivity levels' without food during Ramadan. The irony being that many in that same office practice 5:2 dieting and delay eating for as long as possible during the day. Research has now proven than fasting has many health benefits. It's now very fashionable to fast!

pointythings Sun 21-Jul-13 16:18:31

fuzzy am I wrong in thinking that using the timings of the nearest country where day and night are distinguishable would still leave people fasting for 20+ hours whilst in the part of the world where Islam originated people would not be fasting for nearly as long?

With my utterly pragmatic hat on, why don't all Muslims just fast during the hours between sunrise and sunset in Mecca during Ramadan? That way no-one would be disadvantaged by living a long way north.

fuzzywuzzy Sun 21-Jul-13 20:06:56

No sure but the nearest countries timings would be closest. In winter they'd subject to some of the shortest fasts in the world presumably.

Fasting & prayer timings are dependant on the length of the daylight hours in the country in which you reside, not the length of the day in Makkah.

Fasting in Makkah will have its own challenges.

Those of us who fast are happy to do it as an act of worship.

Chunderella Sun 21-Jul-13 22:05:57

Its fashionable to fast baking and there are demonstrable health benefits to not taking in food for short periods. However, that's not true of going without water. Especially not in a heatwave, in the middle of a much longer summer day than most humans experience. Only a small percentage of the species live as close to the poles as we do and until very recently there were very few Muslims living in those areas. So its not like the faith itself has a huge amount of experience in this regard either. The last time Ramadan was in the middle of summer was a long time ago, the Islamic population of far northern Europe, Canada and Australia has grown hugely since then. So this is something that is pretty much unprecedented in Islam's long history, in terms of numbers.

Now if people want to refrain from food and drink for x hours at a time that's nobody's business but their own, and I'd defend their right to put whatever they want into their bodies whenever they want. But let's not pretend it bears the slightest resemblance to 5:2 or to a fluid only diet. Or that there's no way that observing it for 18 hours a day at 30 degrees plus peak temp couldn't possibly make a difference to someone's performance at work.

Fizzypop001 Sun 21-Jul-13 22:52:22

well to be honest i think it order pends on when that someone started work and finished work because if it was in the morning it would not really affect anyones performance at work because we wake up at 2am in the morning and eat and drink then pray. as a muslim i cansay that it would not affect work performance in the morning but after 6pm it might do

fuzzywuzzy Sun 21-Jul-13 23:40:24

If my performance at work was affected by fasting I'd expect to be pulled up on it.

I work in an air conditioned office and am more alert and on target whilst fasting actually.

Again if fasting affected work performance Muslims would be losing their jobs up and down the country, my dad worked in high powered corporate capacity for 40 odd years, he fasted every single Ramadan & he never once got pulled up for under performing during Ramadan, the nature of his job was such that he would have most definitely lost his job had he performed badly at any point.

Muslims have lived in the UK for many years, my grandparents lived and worked here and fasted and not one of us has ever been reprimanded for under performing at work fasting or not.

Fizzypop001 Mon 22-Jul-13 03:35:20

thats great fuzzywuzzy so doesnt affect work performance then and i do agree people would be losing their jobs if they could not work especially in this recession competition for work is high so underperformance would not be accepted. when i worked a few years back and fasted i did not underperform in my job was just fine broke my fast at work but the people i worked with were happy and never suggested that my fast was affecting my work so have to agree with i have children so stay at home for them but some days feel abit tired after 6pm as been busy with them and go out quite abit so only natural i guess

Fizzypop001 Mon 22-Jul-13 03:40:38

i was thinking about now rather then when i was working but broke my fast at that time around 7 to half 7 in afternoon and was fine.

Chunderella Mon 22-Jul-13 09:26:53

As a Muslim you certainly can't make a blanket statement about whether people's work in the morning would be affected or not fizzypop. You yourself might be alright until about 6pm, others would struggle way before that and yet more might even be fine afterwards. Humans don't all have the same levels of thirst. Nor do we all exert ourselves in the same way during the working day.

I certainly don't suggest that the work performance of all fasting Muslims would automatically be affected, but nor is it correct to say that if fasting did affect work, Muslims across the country would be losing their jobs. There are lots of reasons why this might not be the case. Some Muslims are self-employed or work for sympathetic and/or Muslim employers. If I were running a business and had a usually very good Muslim worker that I was friendly with, I'd probably cut them some slack for underperforming, so I can see how others might. Some Muslims take a lot of the time off, my colleague at my old job did this. Some might underperform slightly but not enough to trigger disciplinary proceedings. Some might underperform enough to piss off their employers but not be disciplined because the employer fears a backlash, or thinks they won't be able to get anyone else who can do the job so well, or doesn't want the hassle of a replacement. Some might be disciplined but keep it to themselves. These are all possibilities, just like the prospect that no fasting employee has ever had any kind of performance dip at all.

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