It’s the holy month of Ramadan. The Muslims here are fasting from dawn till sunset for a month. It’s my third year fasting in Leeds and dear god, it has truly been a challenge! In Malaysia, we would fast roughly from 6am till 7.30pm. Here, we fast from 3am till 9pm. Although it sounds crazy, but honestly, it gets easier from time to time. I genuinely feel that my digestion track is rejoicing from the break that they’ve finally gotten from all the junk I’ve been eating.
Fasting puts your life into perspective. It gives you more time to self-reflect on how some people suffer from famine. It gives you an insight of how if feels when you have neither food nor water. It makes you think twice when passing a homeless man or woman. Aside from giving you a bad breath (yes, I carry my toothbrush and toothpaste everywhere), it gives you a chance to be a better person. Ramadan encourages you to take the opportunity to do as many good deeds during this holy month.
I joined the Islamic Society iftar (breaking fast) the other day and it felt good when everyone took a moment to pray for a few minutes before we began to eat. The food was heavenly too! Fasting can be lonely especially when you’re fasting away from home. At home we’d have big bazaar every evening during Ramadan and have iftar together. There’s a sense of community so it feels easier to fast.
Every Tuesday during Ramadan the Union also provides food for iftar. I think that it is so great to have the support from the University during Ramadan. You know that you are not alone and there are good people who are trying to understand the purpose of your fast. International students from all over the world would come to the Union common ground and have iftar together. It makes you feel less lonely and it seems a little bit more like home!