Ramadan in UAE: Non-Muslim expat skips meals, movies


Jennie Liz Li. — Supplied photo
Jennie Liz Li. — Supplied photo

Abu Dhabi - Skipping meals is a challenge for the Filipina, especially as she takes the public transport every day to go to work.


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Fri 23 Apr 2021, 11:20 PM

Jennie Liz Li, a non-Muslim Filipina expat in Dubai, has been fasting every Ramadan over the past four years. The first few days are always difficult, she said, and she would usually struggle with headaches, fatigue and dizziness. But Jennie has never budged. She does it out of respect for people around her.

“It started because of my cousin, who had embraced Islam a long time ago. Some four years back, we spent a few days together during Ramadan. I liked her ritual of fasting. She also encouraged me. And in my office, most of my colleagues are Muslims. Out of respect for them, I fast,” said the senior sales coordinator at Hotpack Packaging.

Skipping meals is a challenge especially as she takes the public transport every day to go to work.

“It has been very difficult, especially in summer. I need to travel from my flat in Al Karama to our office in DIP. Usually, it takes two hours of travelling through Metro to Ibn Battuta and from there we have a company pick-up facility,” Jennie said.

On a normal day, she would take a gulp of water as soon as she reaches her office. During Ramadan, however, she would even hide her tumbler so she won’t feel the urge to drink.

“Also, we usually cook something special on Friday afternoon and watch movies. But we don’t do it during the holy month,” Jennie said.

Fasting, she said, is an opportunity to practise self-control.

“You need to adjust your sleep. But after a while, you feel great. I would lose some weight during this month. At the workplace, you feel the pressure, but this month, you learn self-control and self-discipline.”

Jennie enjoys the joy of ending a fasting day, too. “At home, we have some fruits, dates and laban. Fasting cleanses the body and mind. It helps get rid of all negative thoughts,” she said.


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