Emily, Young Healthwatch volunteer, made the decision to observe Ramadan fasting, to identify with her Muslim friends
During Ramadan Muslims undergo fasting for 30 days across the world. It is an important time for Muslims because it was during this month that the Qur’an (holy book) was revealed to Muhammad. During Ramadan Muslims focus solely on their faith and strengthening their relationship with God by reciting the Qur’an and donating to charity- By doing so they aren’t allowed to eat or drink during daylight hours and cannot do things like listening to music.
During lockdown I decided to set myself the task of trying Ramadan: one – because I wanted to see how it is for my Muslim friends but also because I wanted to push myself mentally and physically. Overall, I fasted for 25 days and found it extremely tiring/difficult but rewarding more than anything. It gave me a new appreciation for the little things such as having food on the table, but it also made me feel extremely empathetic towards the less fortunate that struggle to provide for themselves or their families.
One thing I will take away from the experience is that we could do so much more to help those people living in poverty, whether it be donating to charity more or giving clothes and food to food banks. It really has been a real eye-opener for me and has given me the goal to donate a small sum of money to a different charity each month. On top of this I want to learn about other people’s religions and cultures more, I feel like we don’t embrace other people’s cultures enough or spend the time learning about them.
As a result of attempting Ramadan, I feel as though my friendship with my Muslim friend has strengthened because I have a new level of respect for her and all Muslims for having the self-obedience and strength to fast every year.
Ramadan really did test my character and challenged me physically and mentally but after a while my body did get used to eating after sunset and my mind felt extremely detoxed. It is definitely something I urge others to try even if it is only for a day because it really does make you value what you have and feel sorry for those that don’t have what you have. Sometimes we are too caught up in materialism and we find ourselves lost in fantasising about a new pair of trainers but such things really are meaningless, and what we want, as opposed to what we need. When it comes down to it, the things that really do matter are the finer things like water, food, shelter and family which some people aren’t lucky enough to have or have access to.