Potty-mouthed Ramadan Don't Panic!
I don't often re-read my old Don't Panic columns. It feels like looking at old yearbook pictures. But the beginning of Ramadan on Wednesday prompted a bit of satisfying self-Googling:
So for those of you who want to know what Ramadan is, here's my fatwa-worthy explanation:
Fasting during Ramadan is intended to instill in Muslims self-control and patience. It's training, just in case God ever has a difficult test for you. It's also a great opportunity for Muslims if they ever decide to commercialize Ramadan like the West has done with its holidays. In a country obsessed with weight loss, I can easily imagine the Ramadan Diet taking its rightful place in the pantheon on fad diets, somewhere between Dr. Atkins and Herbalife.
In reality though, fasting is just part of the ritual self-denial that makes up Ramadan. Sexual activity also is restricted during Ramadan. Nookie between married people is not allowed during the day. If you and your spouse are unable to control your impulses and, for example, engage in a lunch-hour quickie, you're required to make up for it by either fasting for an additional 60 days or by feeding 60 poor people one meal each.