Ramadan in UAE: Fasting keeps this teacher in high spirits
Saira had contracted the virus earlier this year but that has not deterred her from her duty as a teacher.
Although her day during Ramadan starts much earlier than it used to, primary school teacher Saira Parveen has no complaints. On the contrary, the teacher who battled Covid-19 earlier this year, says she feels more focused and energetic while fasting.
A mother, wife and working professional Saira is one of the country’s frontliner teachers who braved Covid-19 and continued to teach primary classes at Rosary Private School Sharjah covered in her personal protective equipment that comprised masks, gloves and a face-shield. Since Saira has to do most of the talking as a teacher in primary class, she has to exert effort to speak clearly from behind her mask and face-shield so that her students can understand what she says.
Yet, she does it with a smile.
“Although it does get a bit difficult to handle little children at times, as I have to constantly be talking to keep them engaged and my throat gets a bit dry as I am fasting, but strangely I feel more energetic, patient and happy these days thanks to the blessed days of the holy month of Ramadan. My students also wonder how I have become more accommodating and cheerful these days. It is because it is a charity to smile in Islam, so I do it more during the holy month of Ramadan, although no one can see it as I’m masked up at all times,” Saira laughed.
Saira’s day begins at 3:00am during Ramadan as she is particular about making the most of the holy month and ensures she puts in as much time as possible in prayers and reciting the Holy Quran.
“Time is of essence during this holy month as our rewards are doubled so I want to make the most of every minute. Since the day time is extremely busy for me as I try to balance my time between work and home duties, I keep my exclusive time for extra prayers early in the morning when everyone is asleep. This is the time I converse with Allah and put in all my requests to Him. Early morning (before dusk) is a very blessed time for us Muslims and God grants his special favours to those who pray at that time.”
After offering her Tahajjud prayers around 3.30am, Saira gears up for suhoor and makes the pre-Dawn breakfast for her family - daughter and husband. Describing her day schedule, Saira said: “After suhoor I recite some portions of the Quran after which I pray my morning prayers, and leave for school at around 7.30am where I take classes of four sections of primary school classes with some students online, and others in the classroom. I return home by 1.30pm after which I pray, recite the Quran for a while and take a short nap before entering the kitchen at 5pm.”
Saira had contracted Covid earlier this year but that, she said, has not deterred her from her duty as a teacher. “ I feel blessed to be in the UAE, where we get the best of medical facilities and a safe work environment. I am committed to my work, and come rain or shine, I will deliver what is expected of me,” Saira said exuding confidence.
Saira says the best part of Ramadan is that she manages to do a lot more work both at home and school as well and is able to devote a good amount of time to her prayers and recitation of the Quran. “ Ramadan schedule brings order in my life. Everything suddenly has a fixed time and gets done in that particular slot of time. Although I sleep less, I feel more energetic and my output increases and there is a serenity that I experience during this month.”
Hailing from the Indian state of Bihar, Saira says she enjoys making traditional iftar dishes for her family, including fritters, chickpea salad, fruit salad, juices, and lemonade. “I ensure that we all sit on our dining table at least 20 minutes before iftar and pray for a few minutes before the meal as it is the most blessed time to get your prayers answered. Although I stay very active during the day, after iftar I get a bit sluggish and fatigued, hence I rest a bit before getting on with our dinner and special night prayers Taraweeh at home.”
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