Ramadhan is the 9th month in the Islamic lunar calendar. It is known to be the holy month of the Islamic faith and it is the time where Muslims observe a month long fast. The fast requires that no food or drink is to be consumed from sunrise to sunset every day during this month.

In Malaysia, the time the sun rises and sets does not vary as much due to its geographical location, meaning to say that the length of our days are generally assumed to be constant. Whereas here in the UK, the fast is much longer during the summer and much shorter during the winter. This year I had the rare opportunity of observing Ramadhan during the summer solstice, also known as the longest day of the year. This meant that I had to abstain from eating and drinking for nearly 19 hours! Having grown up in Malaysia for most of my life, I’ve only had to fast for approximately 14 hours at most, so the additional 5 hours was a new challenge in a new environment.

It is recommended that every day, one wakes up and has something before dawn in order to prepare the body with enough energy to get through the day fasting, even if it’s only a glass of water. For this year, dawn was between 2.45 and 3 a.m.

Sunset on the other hand varied between 9 to 9.30 p.m. Southampton’s Islamic Society (ISOC) and also the nearby community mosque (Al-Basheer mosque) in Portswood organised daily gatherings for the Muslims to break-fast together.

Breaking Fast

Fast-breaking sessions at the local community mosque in Portswood.

Picture credit: Anas Anuar

The purpose of fasting in the Islamic faith is to teach humility and modesty. Fasting is not only abstaining from food, but also abstaining from doing evil deeds altogether and conducting oneself in the best manner possible. Fasting in the UK has been a great new experience for me, especially since fasting during the summer solstice is a rare opportunity (although a rather tiring one!). I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a blessed Eid Mubarak!

Ramadhan in the UK

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