Ramadan is a month of fasting when families gather together, exchange gifts, and have Iftar and Suhoor meals. The little ones in the family are often inspired when they see elders fasting and prayerfully observing the holy month.
Khaleej Times caught up with families and spoke with children as young as three who are happily fasting during this Ramadan.
Mahveen Shaikh, who is three years and seven months old, completed her first fast on the first day of the holy month.
“Mahveen insisted on fasting when she saw us and her five-year-old brother Ayan fasting during this Ramadan. For Ayan, it was his third fast. Mahveen also recites the Holy Quran and has also memorised most of the short prayers,” says Mahveen’s father, Matin Shaikh, who hails from Mumbai, India.
Mahveen felt thirsty in the afternoon, but then she started playing with her toys and completed her fast, said Matin.
Though fasting is not obligatory for children, the idea of fasting fascinates kids when they see adults in the family observe the ritual.
10-year-old Emirati Abdul Aziz Adnan Al Shamsi, a grade seven student in Al Qarayen School in Sharjah, also started fasting at six.
“My son observed fast for a day when he was six; since then, he has been fasting the whole month. Actually, when he saw all of us fasting, he was also keen to observe fast,” says Maryam Al Shahi, mother of Abdul Aziz.
Badr Ahmed Al Ansari, 11, Egyptian, studies in grade six and has been fasting since he was seven.
“I decided to fast when I saw my father fasting. I’ve been fasting since the age of seven, and the best thing about Ramadan is that we have really good family get-togethers during Iftar and Suhoor,” says Al Ansari, who studies at Al Maarifa International Private School.
“Sometimes, I exercise just before Iftar. I love to play sports before breaking the fast,” Badr told Khaleej Times.
Nine-year-old Bilal Siddiqui has also been fasting over the past three years.
“I try to offer all five prayers in the mosque during Ramadan and recite at least one or two pages of the Quran every day. For me, the best part of Ramadan is Suhoor time. I love to get up early in the morning to have Suhoor,” says Siddiqui, who studies at New Indian Model School, Sharjah.
Sharing a memorable moment, Bilal’s father Faisal Siddiqui said, “His first-ever fast when he was seven was quite memorable. He got restless during the last hour before Iftar, and we all had a tough time keeping him engaged during that crucial one hour.”
Sarah Salman Sheikh, 13, started fasting last year and will continue this year as well.
“I like to get up for Suhoor in the morning and help my parents sometimes prepare Iftar at home. I offer prayers five times a day and also recite Holy Quran daily during Ramadan. This is part of my routine during the holy month over the past couple of years. I also try to learn what Islam teaches us on purifying and keeping ourselves clean and how to deal with the elders respectfully,” said Sarah, who studies in Rosary School, Sharjah.
In addition, she also assists her younger sister Shiza in her studies.
A player of Taekwondo martial art player, Sarah, says fasting during Ramadan also helps people to gain patience and keep cool during tough times in life. “This aspect really helps a lot in our sport.”