Fasting Diary: An officer’s take on Ramadan

As we enter our second week of Ramadan, we’ve spoken to one of our Muslim police officers, Abdul Rafique.

Looking back at his first week of fasting he said, “Ramadan the month of fasting is the holiest month of the Islamic calendar. It is a month every practising Muslim looks forward to, including myself.

“The biggest challenge I face during fasting as an operational police officer is the fact that I will not be eating or drinking anything all day, from two hours before sunrise until sunset.

Fasting Diary: An officer’s take on Ramadan

“The length of the fasts depends on the time of year and the month the fasting takes place. Due to the lunar calendar, every year the month of fasting goes back by 11 days. This year my first fast lasted from 4:02am until 6:27pm, about 14 and half hours.

“On Sunday when the clocks went forward, the fast time was extended by an extra hour, making it an over 15 hour fast.

“Fasting when working operational shifts can be very difficult, in the past I have had to open my fast whilst out on a job or have even had to wait to open my fast if I am dealing with an incident.

Fasting Diary: An officer’s take on Ramadan

“Wearing the full police uniform with all the gear can also weigh you down, it’s a challenge in itself during fasting. Towards the end of any respective shift I am shattered, I want to rest and have a power nap, but have to stay awake to perform my other daily prayers before I can go back to bed.

“The other struggle is that you cannot perform your daily prayers during operational shifts, a job comes in and off you go. The lack of sleep also quickly catches up with you. You sleep for a few hours and then have to get up to keep your fast and then try and sleep again after closing the fast. I thank the almighty for rest days when I can have a lie in!”

Fasting Diary: An officer’s take on Ramadan

My fasting diary:

“Across the day there are five daily prayers I have to perform. The start times of these prayers during my first day were as follows: 4:02am, 12:13pm, 4:24pm, 6:25pm and 8:45pm.

“I also attend the local mosque for extended Tarawee prayers, which started at 8:45pm and finished around 10:15/10:30pm.

“Once I returned home after my first Tarawee prayers, I was tired. I relaxed for a bit and then it was bedtime, and nearly midnight by the time I fell asleep. But alas, I set my alarm for 3am.

“Soon the alarm is blaring, I dragged myself out of bed at 3:20am to have my pre-fast meal (a bowl of cereal and glass of water) to last me until sunset.

“It’s soon 7am and I am up on time, but a bit tired. After a quick shower, I get dressed and leave the house without a coffee or breakfast, a new routine which will carry on for the next 29 to 30 days.

“The morning was very busy, with time passing quickly. I poppe to another office to speak to a colleague. After watching my colleague having his lunch I decided to mention it was the first fast of Ramadan. My colleague replied, “oh no I feel awful, I am eating in front of you”.  I explained that I choose to fast because I want to fast and it is part of my religious beliefs and obligations, you shouldn’t feel bad about eating or drinking in front of me. Something I wish all my colleagues to understand.

“I finished work at 4pm, performed ablution, performed my prayers and recite some texts from the Quran.

“We return home at 6pm, to a sweet smell of food being cooke in the kitchen. At 6:27pm I open my first fast with a date and water, the date tasted so good, and the water went down a treat.

“I then performed my prayers and had a small meal. I then return to the mosque for Tarawee prayers.