I am currently in Malaysia visiting my husband’s side of the family and here it is quite customary that some eating places don’t serve Malays during the daylight hours of Ramadan. And what I have read from the Internet, the rules are even more strict in places like the U.A.E.
Being also a nurse, my Western set of mind kicked in: if it is frowned upon for you to eat in public during the daylight hours, but at the same time it is between you and Allah how and what you do… what would be wrong and questionable in eating in McDonalds or someplace?
No one would bat an eyelid if I went there but the moment someone “who looks like a Muslim” enters, you can see the stares. But no one asks anything. Why? Instead of asking the obvious, people tend to stay silent and think they know. And that can cause fitnah. All I know, my writings can cause fitnah because I am saying that in certain occasions it is ok and advisable to break your fast and eat or drink!
Let’s take an example: a person is diabetic. As a general rule, they shouldn’t fast, but there is even scientific proof that type II diabetics benefit from fasting, so the person fasts. However, during the day as it is hot and humid, the person feels their blood sugar level dip so they have to eat. And if the waiter gives that person a condemning look it really doesn’t help the situation.
I admit – usually diabetics are well aware of their condition and carry emergency glucose with them, but sometimes not. And in those cases it might even be helpful to know what’s going on instead of presuming that the person is going against the prescribed fast. Don’t you agree?