Fasting during Ramadan for Cardiff international students

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began early May and, across the globe, those who observe the Islamic faith have been abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. As for most international students in Cardiff, this is the first time they are fasting for longer period as the days get longer in summer.

The Ramadan timetable differs depending on where one is in the world as the sun rises and sets in different times across the world. For instance on Thursday 16th May, According to Al-Manar Centre, which is a mosque in Cardiff  fasting begins at 02:23 AM and ends at 8:34 PM.

Amin Amanullah, An undergraduate Chemistry international student at Cardiff University , told Cardiff News Plus that his biggest challenge during this season has been lack of sleep.

“The most important thing that affects me is sleep, because the nights are short and you have university work to deal with, one has little time to sleep and also  participate in the night prayers.  In Saudi Arabia, where I am from, you finish your prayers by 9pm and you have enough time to sleep until the dawn prayers,” he said.

He however added that the most important thing about fasting during this season is the motivation behind it, and that once one realises that, it becomes easier to face any challenges.

On the other hand, Ahmed Asiri, an international student at Cardiff University School of Pharmacy, says despite him doing a PhD, he still finds time to volunteer as an imam during night prayers at Al-Manar Centre.

Allah has been helping me a lot to prepare for this salah and also handle my PhD work. It is not that easy but with the support and help from Allah, it has become easy for me,” he says.

Ahmed Asiri. photo: CNP

Barak Albayaty Managing Trustee at the Al-Manar centre told Cardiff news Plus that aside from offering meals to break the fast, the centre offers lessons during the week on nutrition and time management for the students to help cope with any challenges.

“We understand in this country we fast for longer hours compared to Africa and middle East, many of our attendees here are students and we are aware of that. We therefore have sessions during this fasting period  that give them tips on fasting when one is a student. For instance, we always encourage them not to skip the Suhur meal (meal before sunrises). Some people do this to keep up with sleep but you will need the energy from this meal to help you throughout the day,” he said.

Muslims breaking fast at the mosque. Photo: CNP

He concluded by advising those who are fasting to make their lunch breaks productive. He said they should avoid working through the lunch break and do things like go out for a walk and get fresh air, take prayer breaks, or take a nap.

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