It’s Shahira again, and this week is the last week of Ramadhan! If you are wondering, Ramadhan is a month in the Islamic calendar where Muslims have to fast for the whole month, from sunrise until sunset. This year marks my first Ramadhan away from home, and in this entry, I will write about my experience!
Back in Malaysia, the average duration to fast is 13-14 hours, while in the UK, this year is 16-17 hours, from 4 in the morning until 8 in the evening. I get a little lucky that this year’s Ramadhan doesn’t fall during summer, as if it does, the duration would be 19 to 20.5 hours!
My typical day during Ramadhan is I wake up at 3 AM for sahur preparation or the meal we eat before fasting. Because I am the kind of person who couldn’t take heavy meals like rice early in the morning, I usually have toast, scones, pancakes, or cereals.
After Sahur, I will wait a little bit for the fajr prayer and get back to sleep. My day then continues as usual, except I didn’t eat lunch or snacks.
For Iftar, or the breaking of the fast, Surrey Islamic Society provides free meals sponsored by the Muslim community in Guildford. We have to register for the free meals and collect them after breaking our own fast and performing Maghrib prayer. The kind of food differs every day, but usually, it’s rice with curry, Arab rice, and my favourite, biryani rice. For the whole month, I only cook for Iftar during weekends, and therefore, I saved a lot on groceries.
Because London is just one train trip away, sometimes on weekends, I will visit some of my friends in London for Iftar. Last week, my friend and I were craving sushi so went to this really nice Japanese restaurant at Oxford Street for Iftar! And if I don’t feel like travelling to London, Guildford also offers a variety of restaurants for Iftar. Once, one of my housemates and I decided to have a picnic iftar at Pewley Down (a must-visit hill), where we packed some food and break our fast there. We planned to catch the sunset, but we couldn’t see it due to the gloomy weather, and it was freezing too.
Ramadhan is a special month for us Muslims, as during this month, we are encouraged to do a lot of good deeds and prayer as we believe this is a holy month where we will be rewarded massively. Moreover, during Ramadhan, we have a specific prayer that we can only perform during this month called the Taraweeh prayer. We perform this prayer after Iftar alone or together. Surrey Islamic Society organises daily Taraweeh prayers, but I don’t have the opportunity to join as I do it alone in my room.
To end my post, even though this is my first time celebrating Ramadhan alone without my family, surprisingly, I don’t really feel homesick as I thought I would be! I believe this is because I still try to do the things I used to do back home at Surrey during this month. I am also grateful for how helpful the university has bee. At the start of Ramadhan, I received a helpful guide to fast, and at the same time still focus on my study. Not to mention how the Surrey Islamic Society also helps make me feel at home, and I am really thankful for them. I can’t believe that Eid is tomorrow, and I can’t wait to celebrate it! I already have plans with some other friends to visit London for Eid, and I will make sure that I write about that too! I hope everyone will have a lovely week ahead and till we see each other again in the next post.