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    Right now, around 1.6 billion people around the globe are fasting from sunrise until sunset to celebrate the holiest month in the Muslim calendar - every day, for one whole month.

    Beginning on 10 March and running through until April, Ramadan is a celebration where Muslims fast during the hours of daylight - to remember the month that the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

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    But what is Ramadan and how can I support my Muslim friends who are fasting?

    To celebrate Ramadan at Utilita, we spoke to a few members of staff to learn more about the month-long celebration and if there are any etiquette tips that non-Muslims could follow during the month.


    Why is Ramadan Important to you?
    Honestly, for me, it's the time where I reset, mentally, physically & spiritually.

    I get to focus on different aspects of life (if you know me, you know how I obsess over food) and somehow, I feel like I am more productive during that month.

    How do you feel physically and spiritually during fasting?
    The second and third days are the toughest, as this is where my mind recalibrates and forces itself to find focus & happiness elsewhere.

    From the fourth day, physically, I feel lighter & more energised, I start looking at different ways to enjoy my time, so I learn / re-start new habits.

    The spiritual discipline practiced throughout this month & empathising with those less fortunate makes me grateful for the food in my fridge & the warmth in my home, and this "re-wiring" of the brain results in higher happiness and well-being overall.

    What are the main challenges while fasting?
    We break our fast over one big meal and a small meal later. Planning balanced tasty meals that would contain all the necessary nutritious values is my biggest challenge.


    Ramadhan Significance To Me
    Ramadhan is the time of the year where I spend a whole month to reflect and focus on becoming closer to my religion. On top of praying 5 times a day I fast from sunrise to sunset which can be around 17 hours in between so this can be very draining.

    The main reason we do this is because it is one of the 5 pillars of Islam, so it is a way to show our faith to God by fasting for one month of the year. This helps us become more grateful for the things we take for granted like food and water.

    How Does It Affect Me?
    It can be very difficult as you get very hungry which causes a lot of things like lesser attention span, feeling more tired especially with us having to wake up in the middle of the night to eat, we also can get what I call “Hangry” when it gets later in the day as your body is craving food.

    It also has a lot of health benefits as it cleanses your stomach throughout the month, helps boost the immune system, controls blood sugar control, reduces blood pressure and more.

    Over the course of the month your stomach starts to shrink so when it does get to the time of breaking your fast you don’t eat as much as you would think.
    Mentally it is really good for me as it shows my mental strength to being able to withstand the hunger and carry on with my day as normal. It also helps me reflect on the millions of people in the world who are way less fortunate than us who live their lives like this every day as they don’t have access to food and water like we do.

    Family Traditions
    Every day for the whole month my mother prepares lots of food for our family to eat once it gets to sunset so we will all sit together at the table and open our fasts together. Sometimes we invite my other sibling to come and break their fasts with us or we get invited to their houses to eat with them.


    The significance of Ramadan to you?
    As a firm believer in God, Ramadan is very important to me as fasting is an obligatory act for all Muslims. It certainly is not easy to just suddenly stop drinking (including water) and eating food from sunrise to sunset (13+ hours a day), especially when factoring in all your day-to-day responsibilities. Most people question what drives you to do it because they would struggle. The answer simply put for me is having firm belief in God and his divine wisdom, and that our good and bad deeds will determine if we enter heaven.

    What is the main benefit for you fasting?
    There are many benefits to fasting. From my experiences I achieve a spiritual and physical body reset. I get this through increasing my prayers, and abstaining from things that are a distraction such as TV, and immoral behaviour. When you are in a fasted state your mind and body are initially weak but over time your mind and body become stronger. You feel a spiritual connection with God, and you subconsciously become nicer to others around you. It makes you a better person. Fasting has physical health benefits which I always capitalise on as you will naturally lose weight (unless you got nuts on the food you eat in the allotted time).

    What is the main objective to achieve at the end of Ramadan?
    To keep all your fasts unless you are unable to for a legitimate reason. To become devout in worshipping God and for it to continue throughout the year. We all get lazy and distracted but for me Ramadan is a reminder of our purpose in life and how we should not take for granted the privileged positions we are in compared to others around the world.
    Last edited by Rebecca; 20-03-24 at 15:49.
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