Dubai: This Hindu expat has been fasting every Ramadan for nearly 20 years

Sixty-two-year-old Keralite says he is drawn by a strong inner calling to participate in a rewarding practice


Mazhar Farooqui

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Published: Fri 14 Apr 2023, 2:38 PM

Last updated: Fri 14 Apr 2023, 4:14 PM

As the muezzin's call echoes through the air for the Maghrib prayer, Mohan Das breaks his fast, marking the end of another day of Ramadan. The Hindu expat in Dubai has been fasting for the past 19 years during the holy month, drawn by a strong inner calling to participate in this deeply meaningful and rewarding practice.

"It gives me immense health and spiritual benefits. I cannot imagine Ramadan without fasting," says Das, originally from the south Indian state of Kerala.

Since relocating to the UAE in 1993, Das has been working at Dubai Marine Beach Resort. To respect the traditions and practices of his Muslim colleagues, he started fasting for a few days during Ramadan.

However, since 2004, he has fasted for all 30 days of the holy month, not only to continue showing solidarity but also for his own pursuit of self-purification and self-discipline.

"I saw all my Muslim colleagues around me fasting, so I started to fast for just a few days to express my support," he explains. "Now I also do it for health reasons and my own spiritual and personal growth."

The 62-year-old has continued this practice even when he was in India during Ramadan in 2021 and 2022, adhering to all its rituals.

Das' dedication to fasting has not only earned him the appreciation of his family and friends, it has also inspired his 25-year-old daughter to follow his example. "She has started fasting as well, although not for the entire month yet. She makes traditional iftar dishes like fritters for me as my wife is currently away in India," he shares.

Das breaks his fast with dates, fruits and a light snack, followed by his favourite beverage, tea. "I am a tea lover. A hot cup of tea never tastes better than after iftar,” he says.

“When I am at work, I break my fast at the Dubai Marine Beach Resort, where we have a lavish iftar buffet that is packed with guests," adds Das. "It's a beautiful atmosphere, especially with the call for Maghrib prayer from the nearby Jumeirah Mosque adding to the spiritual ambience.”

Das uses an alarm to wake up for suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, and credits fasting for helping him maintain his blood pressure and stay in good health. "It has done wonders for me and I would hugely recommend it to non-Muslims.”

In the UAE, there are many non-Muslims who participate in Ramadan by observing the month-long fast, either as a form of spiritual cleansing or to express solidarity with their Muslim colleagues and friends. Das said it is a testament to the country's diverse and inclusive society, where people from different backgrounds and faiths come together to celebrate each other's traditions and practices.


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