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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Ramadan: Meet the kids who fasted for the first time in the UAE

DUBAI: Like their peers around the world, many children in the UAE – some as young as eight – are keeping their first fast this Ramadan.

Click here for Ramadan prayer times for UAE and Gulf countries

The holy month sees families get up early to eat a fast, which is a pre-dawn meal before a day of fasting. The fasting time – now more than 13 hours in the UAE – is used for worship and rest, in addition to regular errands and pursuit of interests, until sunset ends the fast.

Many children are also enthusiastic about fasting as a voluntary act of worship.

Ayla Nassar, 8, in fourth grade during their first Ramadan fast. We made sure she was prepared physically and mentally before her first Ramadan fast. “

self-discipline and empathy

Duaa said the parents also took the time to explain to her the importance of fasting in accordance with their family culture and traditions. “We talked about things like self-discipline, empathy and spiritual growth.”

Duaa added that at first they encouraged Ayla to start with short fasts and gradually increase the duration as she became more comfortable with the practice. “But she fasted successfully throughout the day, with only [ends] she fasted in the maghreb [sunset] Now. She’s totally ready,” Ella’s mother said, adding that the little girl was excited about the Ramadan experience.

“She is proud to have embarked on her spiritual journey.”

blessing ramadan

Another 8-year-old girl who is adhering to the Ramadan fast is Jude Al Farhan, a third grader. Her mother, KA, said the little girl also prayed more. “I encourage my children to fast by reminding them that Ramadan is full of blessings. Fasting helps [children’s] dead [prayer] Allah. This year, my daughter is motivated to start her first Ramadan. Her friends are doing the same. This seems to be a trend at their school. They’ve grown spiritually together and it’s been amazing,” the mum added.

“I feel very happy”

Meanwhile, 9-year-old Layth Anabtawi, who is studying in Year 5, is also undergoing his first Ramadan fast, with the support and encouragement of his parents as the young Jordanian boy embarks on his spiritual quest.

“I am so happy to be able to stick to my fast until the Maghreb. My experience was relaxing and fun because my friends at school were also fasting. We are proud of what our parents do during the holy month,” Rice said .

“I started feeling hungry at 1pm, my stomach was growling. I was more hungry than thirsty, but I managed to stick to the fast. My parents said they were proud of me.”

His mother, Noor, said the parents were touched by Rice’s commitment to completing the hunger strike. “He showed great maturity and understanding.”

Training Course

Another 9-year-old boy, Omar Ali Al Blooshi from the United Arab Emirates, is also fasting for the first time this year. “It’s hard, I’m hungry and thirsty, but I’m working on it. My parents and siblings support me. It makes it easier,” he said.

His mother, Mariam, said Ramadan was more than just fasting. “It’s also about learning to set boundaries and tell your body what to do. It’s about controlling the mind. As kids get older, they’re exposed to things that can make them addicted, including [some kinds of] food. So it’s a good month to harden your mind,” she added.

stay strong

Leyth Sharaf, a 13-year-old Jordanian-Canadian who is on his first hunger strike, says: “My first day was successful. I woke up before Fajr and ate. At school, I was able to manage my fast very well . I do feel thirsty and have a dry throat. But I keep reminding myself not to drink water.”

Leyth added that his first day of fasting proved to be a great experience. “It calms me down and keeps me connected with my family. At school, I’m lucky to be surrounded by friends who fast like me. So it’s easy. I don’t have PE for the first two days of Ramadan, So I’m fine. Getting ready for gym class next week. It’s all about keeping a strong head.”

His mother, Suhair, said Leith woke up at 4 a.m. with his older brother to prepare a pre-dawn meal. “I’ve prepared roast chicken and pasta, which he requested. He also has lots of water. For Iftar, I’m preparing his favorite foods, including homemade brownies, to motivate him to stick to his fast.”

She added: “As a family, we support each other during this beautiful holy month.”

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