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Working through Ramadan

Optometrist Waseem Shaihzad talks to us about Ramadan, a huge celebratory and welcomed month in a Muslim household from 12th April - 12th May.

Muslims across the globe observe this month by fasting from sunrise to sunset daily for the whole month.

Waseem said: "The month of Ramadan is one way of showing gratitude where everyone comes together to reflect and remember those that are less fortunate in the world.

"2020 was by far the best Ramadan to date for me. Covid meant that all my family members were at home and able to enjoy praying, eating and reflecting together."

The duration of fasts can vary depending on the number of daylight hours, but fasting and working a full-time job can be difficult.

Waseem said: "Working while fasting is challenging, especially when the weather is warm- I try and get on with things as best I can. Keeping busy helps the day go quickly, but tiredness does kick in as the day goes on.

"I know that if I am struggling, I can inform my manager and the Scheduling team can try and arrange days as local as possible, so the travel time in the mornings and evenings are short, which helps."

Fasting during Ramadan is important as it is one of the pillars of Islam. Ensuring you eat slow-release energy foods before closing the fast is beneficial.

Sahoor, also known as Sehri, is the meal consumed early in the morning before fasting. Foods most commonly eaten depend on which part of the world you are in, but in England, the typical foods are breakfast foods that release slow energy, for example, whole oat puddings, bananas, eggs, toast, fruit smoothies and rice pudding.

Iftaar is the evening meal with which we break our fast at the time of Maghreb when the sun starts to set. Dates are the most popular food globally to break the fast, as they provide instant energy.

Ramadan ends with a huge celebration called Eid-El-Fitr - Arabic for the Festival of Breaking Fast. Waseem said: "This is a joyous occasion started by each adult in the household putting aside some money for charity. Followed by presents being exchanged, new clothes are worn, and families and friends getting together over a well-deserved feast."


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