I just love it when religions create all these hoops for their followers to jump through and then, whenever one of those rules become inconvenient for whatever reason, struggle to find ways to break the rules while trying to maintain façade of coherence. Jews are clearly the winners in providing the most source of fun because their kosher and Sabbath rules are unbelievably complex while their Talmudic scholars are ingenious about finding loopholes for them, as was the case with telephones, ovens, elevators, and escalators.
But Muslims are no slouches at this kind of thing either and this week saw them wrestling with a knotty problem. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are supposed to fast during the daytime and eat and drink only from sundown to sunrise. But the period of Ramadan is not fixed in the calendar, moving about 10 days forward each year and this year it runs from July 9 to August 7. When it falls during the summer months when the days are really long, it makes it harder for Muslims but they are expected to suck it up and show their great devotion by sticking with it.
But what if you live within the Arctic Circle where the sun never sets during the summer? Some Swedish Muslims are confronting this problem this year, and Islamic theologians are trying to find ways for them to be observant without, you know, dying.
This would never have happened if Mohammad had been an Inuit because then he would have realized that this is a silly practice. You would think, though, that their god, being all knowing and all, would have taken geography and the calendar into account before promulgating such a rule.