Ramadan begins this evening and lasts for a month. For Muslims, it is a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement and heightened worship.
I have decided to fast for the first week of Ramadan. I’m not a Muslim, but I want to share part of this experience with the estimated 20,000 Muslims who live in Peterborough, my city. It’s the same impulse that made me give up chocolate for Lent.
We are one city and I want to demonstrate that more unites us than divides us. It’s important for me to understand what my constituents undertake and what Ramadan means to them.
For the next week, I won’t eat or drink, from dawn until dusk.
Clearly, Muslims observing the fast are following their religion, not just the rules. Yet the lessons of self-discipline, sacrifice and empathy for the less fortunate are available to everyone. Generosity isn’t limited by faith.
I hope to learn more about the Muslim faith, while learning a little more about myself. Although it‘s going to be a test of my mental strength and discipline, it also involves great moments of camaraderie.
Before deciding to begin, I spoke to the Joint Mosques Council, the Muslim Council of Peterborough and my local Imam. I was touched by their welcome and support.
As part of sharing my experience, I aim to record a video diary, capturing my fast. I hope this will be a useful way to bring Ramadan to others like me, who haven’t lived it before.