3 best friends fast for the first time this Ramadan

·2 min read
From left to right: Fatima Khan, Maryam Hakim, Manha Akther.  (Nadia Mansour/CBC  - image credit)
From left to right: Fatima Khan, Maryam Hakim, Manha Akther. (Nadia Mansour/CBC - image credit)

Three best friends in Prince George, B.C., are fasting for the first time this Ramadan (April -May).

Nine-year old Manha Akther, 10-year-old Maryam Hakim and seven-year-old Fatima Khan attend Southridge Elementary School. The three Muslim students discussed the new experience of fasting with CBC's Daybreak North.

"I've been really hungry because it's my first time fasting [for] the full time … fasting full days is really fun because your reward at the end is Iftar," said fourth grader Akther of the time in the evening when it's time to break the fast.

"When you put a piece of food in your mouth after a long day of fasting, it just feels so good."

Generally, children are not required by Islam to fast until they reach puberty. But the friends wanted to take part with their older friends and relatives.

Akther also enjoys spending time at the mosque at night for their tarawih prayer.

"We stay up until 12 (a.m.) and it's really fun because you can see your friends and sometimes you can skip it and enjoy your time at the mosque," said Akther.

Hakim said while fasting is difficult when other students eat during lunch and recess, school keeps her occupied and makes the foodless day go faster.

Hakim, who is also in fourth grade, said her favourite part of Ramadan is going to other families' houses for parties.

"You get closer to Allah," said Hakim.

Khan, who is in second grade, is starting her Ramadan journey by fasting for one or two days at a time.

Iftar is her favourite part of Ramadan, even on the days she doesn't fast.

"I like Iftar too ... I'm fine, but I still like to eat," said Khan.

Advice for first timers

Akther advises fasters to drink lots of water at Suhoor, the sunrise meal that begins the day of fasting during Ramadan.

"You're gonna get really, really thirsty and really, really hungry, but just don't eat a too-big meal because if you eat a big meal, then you get hungry."

Akther said participating in Ramadan can provide perspective into the lives of those who do not have food.

"Fasting is like we're feeling how people who don't have any food feel, but of course we eat because we have to," Akther said.

Akther looks forward to Eid al-Fitr (May 1 and 2), the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

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