UAE Ramadan 2021: How expatriate children in UAE are fasting

Jana Fareed
Lebanese expatriate student Jana Farid said initially it was a bit tough, keeping a fast in the summer heat, but she has now got used to it. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Ramadan is here and expat children living in UAE are keeping fast in all earnestness and good faith. Juggling between their academics and extra-curricular activities, these children, one of them as young as eight years old are doing their best to maintain the fast.

We talk to some of them to understand how they are managing this and what Ramadan means to them.

Pakistani students in Dubai Salah Fahad, 13, in Year 9, attending Gems Wellington International School and his younger sister, Hibba Fahad, 12, Yr 7 in the same school said they feel happy to keep fast during Ramadan.

“My sister and I both are learning online during Ramadan. It helps as we are fasting throughout the month. There is a lot of energy saved for the month,” said Fahad.

NAT Salah Fahad with his sister Hibba and father Fahad-1619156091513
Pakistani expatriate student Salah Fahad with his sister Hibba and father Fahad. Image Credit: Supplied

For Hibba, besides the accomplishment of fasting during the month, she said she gets to see her parents home earlier than usual. “My mother makes yummy snacks for Iftar like samosas and pakodas which is such a treat!”

Lebanese student Jana Farid, 15 in year 10 at a private school in Dubai is keeping fast. She admits initially it is a little hard what with the heat on. “But I get used to it after sometime.”

What Ramadan means

“Ramadan, to me, means helping my mother in the kitchen. As a family we bond big time. The warmth of my family around me, feeling closer to God and my religion makes Ramadan a very special month for me.”

Her younger brother Adam Farid, 13 could not agree more although the admits it can be hard to fast during the heat sometimes. “I go to the school of LFIGP (Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou). It can be difficult to move around the school in the heat. But the fact that my family is around me ll the time during Ramadan and we get to eat special snacks and food makes it all so special. I feel closer to my family now more than ever,” said Adam.

Tuan Raihan Yaheya AND Tuan Amaan Yaheya-1619156093701
Sri Lankan expats Tuan Raihan Yaheya, 14, and Tuan Amaan Yaheya, 11, are enjoying their fasting during Ramadan. Image Credit: Supplied

Sri Lankan expats Tuan Raihan Yaheya, 14, Tuan Amaan Yaheya, 11 attending Abu Dhabi International School, are enjoying their fasting during Ramadan every bit. “We are fasting together with our friends. So it makes whole experience even better as we are all in it together. Fasting is one of five pillars of Islam and we are so excited to observe fast during Ramadan. We are also very happy to come home early after school,” said Tuan.

Alishbah Umar Khan from Lucknow in India, who is just eight years old, is also fasting. Image Credit: Supplied

Little Alishbah Umar Khan from Lucknow in India who is just eight years old studying in grade 3 at Gems International School (GIS) is also fasting. “I manage to fast by not thinking about food or seeing food or any liquid. Ramadan for me means to be in others’ shoes. Many people around the world don’t have any food to eat. So my goal is to experience how it is to survive a whole day without food or water. I am able to manage fasting and school as am motivated by my friends who also fast. My family makes healthy and delicious suhoor and iftar and that is something to look forward to. Ramadan means a month of fasting, sacrifice, patience and prayers. Ramadan for me is to step into other people’s shoes and acknowledge the blessings of Allah bestowed to us.”

Farzaan Ahmed

For Pakistani boy Farzaan Ahmed, 14, attending Islamiya English school, his routine has totally changed for Ramadan. “I sleep after breaking my fast, get up right at suhoor and then don’t sleep after. In the morning I have my exams so I continue till 1:30. Then I focus on the next day preparation and after Maghreb go back to sleep again. Ramadan is a time of spiritual training for me. At the same time I get to have meals of different types.”