April marked the start of Ramadan for Muslims across the world. Ramadan is a month of fasting for Muslims which helps them strengthen their connection to Allah. During this month, Muslims abstain from food, drink, sexual activity, and other temptations from dusk to dawn. Usmaan Akhtar, Sheffield United Community Foundation Coach, shares his experience of Ramadan.
Ramadan is sacred to Muslim’s worldwide as it is an opportunity for us to become closer to our faith. During this month we fast from sunrise to sunset, meaning that we cannot drink or eat for 17 hours. The purpose of this is to help us become closer to God through practicing our faith and self-reflection.
This month is a time for Muslim’s to work on ourselves and to spend time with our Families. Family is a big part of Ramadan and I cherish breaking fast to pray with them.
I have worked for Sheffield United Community Foundation (SUCF) for five years now and working whilst taking part in Ramadan has always been challenging. One of the main challenges is that Ramadan usually falls over the Summer, which means that the days are long and hot. My job means that I am often delivering sessions outside in the heat and this can be difficult.
My employer (SUCF) and colleagues have always been understanding and I often take breaks between sessions to help reenergise.
I remember one occasion last summer that was really testing, this was when the days were long and our fast opened at 9.30am. During this time, I was working long days working on our Football Camps in 33-degree heat. As the day went on, I became dehydrated, low on energy and felt faint. That was difficult. However, I reminded myself that it is in these moments that teaches us why we fast and that fasting teaches us that anything is achievable through desire and dedication.
Ramadan can be taxing as it is made up of long days without food and water and late-night prayers. Whilst this month may seem difficult, it is considered a blessing and I cherish it and embrace it as an opportunity to better myself and become closer to God.
By Usmaan Akhtar