Starting tomorrow night (Friday evening, 26th)....Ramadan starts up. Up until three years ago, I wouldn't have really noticed or cared. Here in Germany, I've started to note various things.
For the Muslim guys, it's a pretty difficult period. From sun-up to sun-down each day (starting Saturday morning on the 27th and going to the evening of the 24th of June.....you can't drink liquids, eat or smoke during the daylight hours.
For years, I thought the rule was mostly over coffee, soda, beer, etc. Then three years ago, I came to realize the rule meant even water. So it presents a pretty difficult situation.
Imagine, the sun starts to rise in mid-June around 5:00 AM, and does not set until 9:35 PM in June around the middle of Germany.
To make this a successful Ramadan, if you were a strict Muslim, you'd have to get up by 4 AM.....sip off a ton of water (minimum of 1.5 liters), smoke as much as you possibly can, and eat a minimum of 1,000 calories. Then you'd have to hope that the temperature didn't go past 32-degrees Celsius (89 degrees F)....avoid physical activity as much as possible....and make it to 9:36 PM where you could guzzle down 1.5 liters of water to re-hydrate yourself, smoke five or six cigarettes, and consume at least 1,500 calories. You'd repeat this for roughly four weeks straight...every single day.
Provided that the temperature would stay at 32 C or less, and you did very little in terms of physical effort....you could probably slide through this with limited issues. A 35 C day and two hours out in the sun walking from one point to another? You probably will have issues.
If you described this practice to a health expert, without saying the term Ramadan....he'd tell you that this is severely taxing the kidneys and if you did this for thirty years....you'd likely have serious kidney problems by your fifties. Once you utter Ramadan with the description, he'll likely avoid saying much of anything.
I sat and watched an interview of a guy who spent his first thirty years of life in Iraq and observed the Ramadan situation year after year. In the old country, most all construction projects came to closure as Ramadan started up. Trash and basic services might continue on but it typically started at 5 AM and halted by 10 AM. Most guys that he knew....slept throughout the day....to preserve their hydration situation. Upon arriving in Germany, this guy found that the German lifestyle, expected work hours, and general summer heat....made observing Ramadan a harsh experience.
Typically, there's a lot of peer pressure....even here in Germany....for Muslim guys. They push each other to stay on course, and avoid hydrating. The smokers are the ones with the most problems. A pack-a-day Muslim smoker is usually getting aggravated by noon and is often frustrated.
My general belief is that for the long-term effect, at least fifty percent of these individuals will be facing kidney compromise by age 50, and requiring some type of medical help for the remainder of their life....probably even shortening their life span by a decade. If they had remained in the old country and observed the no-work philosophy for daylight hours, it'd probably less than 20-percent with kidney issues.
In a way, moving into Europe, which has a longer sun-up and sun-down cycle.....is a big deal. In three or four years.....Ramadan will be in January, with only eight hours of sunlight, and the temperature will make hydration better. But by 2025, we will be back to the August heat and another impossible-to-stand Ramadan period.
For the guys up in Sweden? Well, it's really bad news. Sun-rise starts to occur around 2:30 AM and it doesn't really set until around 10:30 PM. Their hydration issues are probably even worse.
The fix? There's a short sentence handed down by the Koran that says....if you were living around non-members, you could eat or live under their conditions. You would think that after a while, this 'waiver' of sorts would be pulled out and prevent all these health issues and potential kidney damage, but the peer pressure thing kicks in and everyone wants to pretend the old country rules can still work in the new country.
It is an interesting health problem.