Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 10:49 GMT, Thursday, 12 August 2010 11:49 UK
Fasting for Ramadan in Bradford
Muslims praying
Muslims across the world are celebrating the holy month of Ramadan

Muslims across West Yorkshire and the world are marking the most important month in the Islamic calendar - Ramadan.

But one non-Muslim from Bradford is taking part in the holy month in a bid to gain a better understanding of how her Muslim friends are feeling.

Eilish Bromley works with the youth service in Bradford. She's not Muslim but will begin fasting this year.

She explains her reasons behind it.

She says: "I've got a lot friends who are Asian and they're fasting so I want to respect their religion and fast.

During this month, Muslims refrain from drinking, eating and other activities from dawn until sunset.

Fasting is intended to teach Muslims the virtues of patience, humility and spirituality, and is carried out as an offering to God.

Participants rise in the darkness to eat a pre-dawn meal called "suhur".

They must stop eating and drinking before the dawn call to prayer, and must not break their fast until the fourth call to prayer at dusk.

Muslims are expected to start observing the fasting ritual once they reach puberty, as long as they are healthy.

Eilish says: "I'm also trying to have a small understanding of what's going on around the world, people who are suffering in poverty, and I hope this will also help me gain more understanding about myself."

She says she will have to rise early around 3am, before dawn, to have her breakfast.

Eilish has fasted in the past and it's something she says she was glad she did and will be glad to do it again.

I'm also trying to have a small understanding of what's going on around the world. people who are suffering in poverty. I want to understand that.
Elish Bromley, Bradford

She explains: "I will try and eat the same amount I eat normally. I didn't notice any weight loss the last time I did it. I don't think you necessarily lose any weight.

"It's about trying to gain a better understanding of people and what they are going through, which is why I want to do it."

Fasting this year will be particularly difficult for British Muslims, for whom daylight fasting means going 17 hours without food.

The elderly, the chronically ill and the mentally ill are exempt from fasting, although the first two groups are expected to try to feed the poor instead.

The holiday of Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan and the first day of the following month, which is called called Shawwal.

When fasting is over, celebrations are held and Muslims go to their mosques in their best clothes to say the first Eid prayer.

Hajj: My personal journey
08 Dec 09 |  Religion & Ethics


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific