Ramadan in UAE: This non-Muslim couple fast every holy month for 9 years
The Indian couple started fasting during the holy month nine years ago to express solidarity with the Muslim community.
Abu Dhabi residents Athira and Rakesh Radhakrishnan have always enjoyed fasting every Ramadan for the past nine years.
The Indian couple hail from the southern state of Kerala. After their marriage in 2012, when the couple landed in Abu Dhabi, they were inspired by the environment of devotion, humility and harmony, especially seen during the holy month. They were eager to be part of the month of spiritual rejuvenation and thus took to fasting to express solidarity with the Muslim community.
“I hail from Thrissur and Athira from Thiruvananthapuram. We grew up in communities where we cordially mark all festivals, have friends from different faiths, and cooperate with everyone irrespective of their backgrounds. Since we came here and with so many Muslim colleagues, we wanted to support them. It started when we joined my friend Nizar in fasting and then continued,” said Rakesh, an accountant at a private oil sector firm.
Athira noted that the first Ramadan falling in the sweltering summer of July 2012 was a big test.
“It was difficult. I was unsure if I could manage without even drinking water. However, we both were able to observe fast for the entire month. It made us very confident about our abilities. Now we don’t feel any such problems. We love this ritual,” the homemaker said.
Athira, however, ensures her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter is always well fed. Their Iftar is simple with dates, lemon juice and fruits. A balanced diet for dinner and rice porridge for Suhoor.
“Ramadan has brought a lot of self-control and discipline to our lives. Fasting offers many health benefits.”
Their act of solidarity has even surprised their new neighbours. “We recently moved to a new community. Our neighbours, who are Muslim families, are so happy that we are fasting. They share their iftar snacks,” Athira added.
Now, they are planning a road trip to Dubai to mark Eid with friends, but not before preparing biryani and ‘payasam’ (sweet pudding) Kerala style.
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