View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Smoking and Dietary Patches Ease Pain of Ramadan Fast

An article, via Al Arabiya, reports that many Turkish Muslims use dietary patches to suppress their hunger pangs during the Ramadan fast.

The discussion has been heated with some claiming that the use of dietary and smoking patches is haram. They say patches are cheating the Ramadan regulations, tantamount to a red card for foul play on the football field. It makes the fast null and void and is an evil that should be outlawed, especially at such a holy time.

Some Turkish theologians have said not to worry about using patches. The suppressing chemicals are not ingested so this is not eating or drinking. They argue that this is an example of science helping us and is like taking tablets to alleviate headaches. If Ramadan is about making time to focus on the spiritual then why not use patches to remove the distractions that come from hunger pangs and the need for a smoke? Take it many say in Ankara. Dietary patches are a Turkish delight.

The dietary and anti-smoking patches uncover some deeper questions:

Why is the Ramadan fast commanded? Is it simply a legalistic practice to obey?

Are the hunger pangs and desire for a smoke intended to make you grumpy and leave you in some pain that must be good for you?

Is going without a form of self-flagellation designed to suppress the physical urges and create room for spiritual desire to grow?

Does going without food and fags build important self-discipline that would not be developed by using patches?

Is fasting a way of affirming the truth that life is more that bread and coffee and going without these basics is revealing the deeper things that satisfy and truly nourish us?

What do you think about using patches to get through a Ramadan fast?

What good does fasting do? Is it worth the trouble?

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “The dietary and anti-smoking patches uncover some deeper questions.”