Ramadan Mubaruk رمضان مبروك
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting, during which time Muslims do not eat or drink during daylight hours. During the winter months, fasting is not so bad, but in the summer months, Muslims fast for up to 19 hours a day and Ramadan lasts 29 or 30 days.
- Ramadan 2018 will most likely start on Tuesday 15th May and end on the Thursday 14th June. Here’s a Ramadan timetable from London’s Central Mosque
Here is an article from The Week which answers a few questions about the month of Ramadan.
The main aim of this post is to address the challenge students face during Ramadan and especially those about to sit for their GCSE’s, A levels and University exams.
Students observing the fast should have at least two meals a day, the pre-dawn meal (Suhoor) and a meal at dusk when they break their fast (called Iftar). Meals should be simple and not differ too much from a normal diet. Students should avoid junk and sugary foods and aim to top up meals with fruits and lots of water. Unfortunately, during the summer months, Suhoor which is about 3am and Iftar (around 9pm) are very close together which leave observers a very small window in which to take in all the nutrients their body needs.
Even if breakfast comes before dawn, it’s still the most important meal of your day. Drink at least two glasses of water at every suhoor and follow these tips from dietician Nour el Zibdeh on 27 Foods To Eat At Suhoor That Release Energy Throughout The Day During Ramadan
The NHS has published some useful advice on what to eat and what to avoid. One of the most important things is to try to keep a bottle of water which you should sip from Iftar (the time you break your fast) until Suhoor (the time you stop eating).
Things to Avoid
During Suhoor, try to have a bowl of porridge or other slow-burning foods that will keep you going for longer rather than biscuits or junk cereals like coco pops or frosties which burn very quickly. You should also, aim to cut down your caffeine intake as much as possible and opt for water instead of fizzy drinks. More information on what to eat can be found HERE.
What should I do if I have an exam on the day?
This is a bit of a ‘grey’ area and ultimately up to the individual. Teachers and schools would not wish to dictate to religious students how they should address this situation. However, in order to assist students, advice has been sought and the following two options have been identified:
- Some students may decide not to take any particular steps and to continue with their fast as usual.
- Some students, in consultation with their religious advisor (Imam), may consider that their examinations are sufficient justification to permit them not to Fast, either just on examination days or perhaps for the whole examination period. The period of fasting can often be undertaken at a later time or some other arrangement could be considered.
If you decide to fast on the day you have an exam…
- Prepare the night before by mentally rehearsing the day ahead and note areas which may present difficulties.
- Ensure you are well rested – this may mean not attending ‘tarawih’ (night prayers in congregation).
- Make sure you have ‘suhoor’ (a pre-dawn meal) that has slow-release energy food (like porridge).
- If your exam is in the afternoon, take a short rest of 45 minutes before hand.
- If you feel lethargic or irritated, refresh your ‘wudu’ (ritual ablution) and go for a short walk.
I hope this post has helped in some way and if you have any questions, please send in your comments below. If you are still unsure of what you should do, you should speak with your family members and the Imam at your mosque. Oh, and the greeting during this month is ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ (written in Arabic as رمضان مبروك)
Further Reading and Useful Links
How schools and Parents can help children that are fasting – easy to follow practical advice for everyone involved in a child’s education including teachers, parents and carers.
Listen to celebrities and other muslims discuss Ramadan and Islam – BBC Asian Network