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Guest article: My experience of Ramadan as a Muslim girl in Preston

Jomana raises awareness of the importance of Ramadan

This is a guest post by Jomana Aref, a 17-year-old Muslim girl and former resident of Preston who is raising awareness about the social, political and environmental aspects of our world.


Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, known as the month of fasting.

Muslims around the world will fast for an entire month, which means they will not consume anything between sunrise and sunset. It is to show respect to God and exercise devotion and patience. It’s also a way to get a little idea of ​​how people living in poverty feel so that we can develop our respect for them.

I have been participating in Ramadan since I was little. One of the first times I fasted was when I was living in Preston.

Times were different then and there was not as much awareness in the community as there is today. However, the people of Preston have always been so understanding and made sure the Muslim community was welcomed.

I remember how my friend and her family once fasted with me for a day as a sign of respect. They also gave me gifts as a thank you.

Nowadays, articles about Ramadan are much more common, which means that awareness is spreading through communities allowing non-Muslims to learn and educate themselves about Ramadan.

During Ramadan, before we start our fast, we take part in something called Suhoor, which is when we have a meal just before dawn. Another meal known as Iftar occurs when we break our fast after sunset.

Read more: Iftar packs distributed during Ramadan thanks to Preston North End

Not only do we have food and drink, but we have the opportunity to gather with our family and friends, socialize and pray together. It’s a moment of reflection for everyone involved and usually my family and I talk about how grateful we are to have food in our lives. We also talk about what we have learned during the day, and these experiences can include learning devotion and patience.

It is essential to know that not all Muslims fast. Some exceptions include young children, pregnant women, and people who are physically or mentally ill.

Over the past two years, Ramadan has changed drastically due to the pandemic. Muslims, including myself, were unable to gather with other members of the community to pray, visit the mosque and celebrate together.

Jomana Aref
Jomana says Ramadan has been particularly difficult during the pandemic

Ramadan during the pandemic has definitely been more difficult than other years. Indeed, during the fast, changing the environment and going for a walk is really beneficial because it distracts the mind from feelings of dehydration and hunger. However, due to Covid this was not possible meaning many of us felt the effects more intensely.

Personally, due to staying indoors all the time, I was prone to more headaches and lower moods than my usual self. This meant that the Ramadan of the previous two years was definitely the most difficult.

Read more: Preston North End opens multi-faith prayer room for fans

The devotion I have to Ramadan is stronger than any struggles I may face. I participate in Ramadan to devote myself to my faith and to feel closer to Allah. We, as Muslims, also remember those in our world who are not as fortunate as we are and we get a little insight into how those living in poverty feel. Ramadan reminds us never to take anything for granted.

Having spent every year fasting during my time at school, I felt the effects on both my body and my mentality. As someone who is very dedicated to my studies, the effects of hunger and dehydration can make me feel like my motivation isn’t as strong as usual. This is because my body and mind get tired and my dedication becomes harder to maintain. But that doesn’t matter to me because my love for Ramadan and Allah surpasses all the struggles I have endured.

Ramadan has taught me never to take anything for granted, because just as opportunity can come and go, so too can life at any time. Ramadan has taught me compassion, gratitude and love for people in this world who feel like there is no one in their life to give them compassion, gratitude or love. ‘love.

Most importantly, Ramadan has taught me that every person on this Earth, regardless of wealth, race or gender, is the same.

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