Jahirul, tell us about your family heritage?
Both of my parents are from Bangladesh.
What is the purpose of Ramadan?
During Ramadan, Muslims fast and abstain from food - sacrificing what they have daily to please God. Fasting teaches us commitment, discipline, target setting and provides a sense of achievement. It’s worth mentioning that if you have a health condition, are pregnant or ill you do not have to fast.
Why is Ramadan so important within the Bangladesh culture?
90% of the population in Bangladesh are Muslim, so religion is part of our culture. Ramadan becomes part of something special, it becomes the main center of attention as its very family orientated.
How long will you fast for?
Ramadan lasts between 29 and 30 days, there is no eating or drinking between sunrise to sunset (4 am to 8 pm for this year in the UK).
What does fasting signify to you?
I can’t wait for Ramadan! It’s a buzz. You can do positive things, be more helpful and spiritual. I read the Quran and try and finish it during Ramadan, it’s also a great time for self-reflection. During this I get the best of Eastern & Western culture in my life.
What impact does fasting have on your mental health & wellbeing?
It strengthens my beliefs and makes me feel closer to God.
What does a typical day look like?
My typical day during Ramadan looks like this:
- 10 pm - 12 pm: I am at the mosque for the daily night prayers.
- 1 am: I head home and get some sleep.
- 3 am: Wake up eat porridge or cereal.
- 4 am: Try and get more sleep.
- 7.30 am: Up for work.
- 6 pm: Finish work, head home to help my family prepare food.
- 8 pm: Breaking fast time. Start with soup and then eat.
- And repeat every day.
Why is Ramadan important?
Abstaining from eating and drinking the whole day teaches you commitment and self-belief. It helps you to be more productive throughout the day, you don’t need to think about food, and you don’t have the energy to waste. Not eating food for 18 hours makes you resilient, you can endure anything. If you truly believe, everything feels less significant. Ramadan refers to God locking up the Devil for the Ramadan period, this indicates the devil is unable to whisper in your ear (i.e., encourage bad habits). Ramadan can make you realise your bad habits, and gives you time to re-assess.
What happens at the end of Ramadan?
This is called Eid (big party and celebration), we go to morning prayers then meet up with family and eat food. It’s a time to celebrate, wear new clothes, give each other gifts, etc.