Muslims across the town have completed their first week of Ramadan.
Ramadan means nil by mouth for healthy adult Muslims (including water) from dawn until sundown for a period of 30 days. This year in the UK that means around 18 hours. It moves each year depending on the Lunar calendar. The last time Ramadan was in July was 1980. Muslims can’t eat, drink, smoke, or have sex during daylight.
Faiza Shafeek, who works at the Herald offices as events co-ordinator, is one of the many fasting.
This week, on the ninth day of her fast, Egyptian-born Faiza spoke about the benefits and challenges it brings.
Faiza said, “Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is really a month of reflection, peace and a chance to be close to your faith. During Ramadan, we also try not to become angry and not to have bad thoughts about people.
“Personally, I am not an avid prayer usually but during Ramadan I pray twice a day.”
It also helps to brings families and friends together.
Faiza said, “In Egypt for example, everyone comes together to break the fast, usually with something sweet to boost the sugar levels. Personally, I have honey and water to break the fast. We also make special dishes and desserts to share with family and friends during Ramadan.”
In Muslim countries restaurants are often closed during daylight hours but here in Britain, there is far more temptation.
Faiza said, “I don’t really find it that difficult. I am a modern working woman following my faith. I still go out to my lunch meetings and watching other people eat is not a problem.
“I think it can be harder for teenagers who want to fast in the Western world because there is not that much understanding. I know my own daughter found it difficult when she was at school.”