Sahur at McDonalds

When I came out of the post office, I saw a woman standing in a corner, hiding herself a bit. I looked again, and saw she was eating some kind of muesli bar. I guess she didn’t want anybody to see she was eating during Ramadan. She was wearing a headscarf. Maybe she was trying to fast but just couldn’t do it this year, or maybe she had a reason for not joining in (being sick or pregnant for example), but didn’t want to be seen eating by people who are fasting. Anyhow, it surprised me, because I feel in this country everybody is respected for the choices he or she makes during Ramadan. If you don’t fast, you can eat and drink on the street and nobody will criticise you for it. If you do want to fast, that’s of course respected too.

A funny example is a good friend of my loved one. The friend lives in Bursa, a city close to Istanbul, he came over and the guys went out last night. Usually they drink beer, but the friend considers himself a Muslim and he follows Ramadan. So he had cola and tea, my partner poked fun at him and ordered beers for himself. And late at night, the friend needed his sahur (pre-dawn breakfast), so together they went to McDonalds (french fries and hamburger for sahur, right) and my loved one waited patiently till his friend finished his breakfast. Good story, I have to say. It shows how in Turkey in general nobody has to behave more or less devoutly than he or she is. There is always discussion in this country about ‘neighbourhood pressure’ that might push people to be either more or less Islamic, depending on the village or neighbourhood where they live, but somehow I don’t believe in it. People let eachother be who they are, and besides that, usually people stand strong enough in the choices they make.

5 replies
  1. Adrianne
    Adrianne says:

    Interesting! I’ve been reading some of your articles and find them fascinating. My husband and I will be spending ten days in Istanbul late this month and your blog has helped in my understanding of what it might be like. Thanks so much.

  2. anatolian
    anatolian says:

    well, I would rather look at different point of view, not to be different for the sake of difference but you cant see the drama if the stage curtains are closed can you?

    my sister works in a government departmet in Istanbul, the environmet she works is rather different than the scenery we usaully see in the streets of Istanbul, she has been working there for about 2 years, she has 7 work colleages, all of them are fasting but my sister not, her work collaeages are not aware that my sister is not fasting but she just pretend that she is fasting because she want keep the good harmony with her work colleages but most importantly to safe her job to not make herself look like odd one out from rest of them, she was doing it because she can predict their reaction. she good new boss this year which has been appointed by the authorities. a colleage of my sister got sucked last year, not because she wasn’t wasting but she took her maternity leave in full and ignoring her boss warning that she should be returned to work two weeks earlier than her normal schedule. the excuse of her sucking was that she was late to work several times, the reason for her latness was slepless night because she had to get up several times to feed her new born baby while her partner having the dream of his life. it was heart aching when I heard the story of my sister’s work colleage. people are powerless to take action to fight for thier right in court, that is even harder if you sue authority, firstly costs, such as lawer and liablity to puy expenses of the court if you lose the case, secondly you are suing the authorities, no right minded person would dare do such thing unleast it is a high profile case which may take media attention. so that is the reason why my sister want keep low profile because what happened her work colleage it could happened to her.

    have a nice day

  3. Amir
    Amir says:

    Hi, as for the woman you mentioned, Muslims do not like to eat or drink infront of people who are fasting, because it can effect the other person’s fast.

    The other thing is that maybe people do not know why you are eating/drinking.. and to avoid exactly what occurred here, in your blog guessing why she is doing that . 🙂

    The other thing is, most Muslims really enjoy praying, fasting because of the deep spiritual meaning and benefit. – It is not a chore, nor do we find it difficult. Islam is a very easy way of life, but a person can only really know about it, having actually understood the basic tennets, which start with understanding Allah.

    Oh and those who do not pray or do the tennets of Islam, are not Muslims. Being a Muslim, means total submission. Just like a woman can either be pregnant or not pregnant.

    Tawhied: download bestanden! De geloofsleer (‘aqiedah).

    Secondly, I think that if you were to extend outside of this limited circle of friends, you would find that most Muslims do not give much of a damn about the secular style “Muslims”. They have an egotistical approach to others which is abhorrant.

  4. Memet
    Memet says:

    I have found your website while searching what to eat at the sahur. I was born and raised in Istanbul and lived there 22 years, been living in o/s for a while.

    In response to anatolian’s comment; I do not believe that in professional life whether government/private job anyone would be fired just because that person is not fasting. If that happened to you and you think legal action is costly you can always utilize social media to let the others know about the situation. I have not heard such case so in order to prevent misunderstandings, I thought I should make that comment.

  5. nonamer
    nonamer says:

    I think the level of pressure depends on you’r relationship with those people. if my parents drink beer during Ramadan dinner (which, thankfully, has never happened) I’d be very offended. And I think that would give me the right to take off. however, if a non-Muslims drinks beer or eats I wouldn’t mind, or a person who is not relevent to me. eventually it comes down to your relation.


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