'Ramadan is all about self-control': Dubai restaurant staffer who cooks for guests while he fasts

Pakistani national says the holy month is a special opportunity to get closer to our creator and heal spiritually


Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Wed 27 Apr 2022, 12:36 PM

Last updated: Wed 27 Apr 2022, 10:59 PM

Spending hours prepping and cooking for restaurant guests while fasting daily prompts Kurram Shahzad to practice the self-discipline and control that Ramadan calls for.

Shahzad, a 29-year-old kitchen staffer at Tony Roma’s Restaurant in Dubai, said exercising self-restraint is part of the worship he loves most about the holy month of Ramadan.

“I always trust that Allah will give me the strength to endure all life’s difficulties,” said Shahzad, a Pakistani national living in the UAE since 2016.

Ramadan, he added, is a reminder of the basic principles to follow in life.

“My favourite part of Ramadan is praying. It gives us peace of mind and nourishes our soul, reminding us of the goodness we should practice in our lifetime.”

Working in shifts, Shahzad spends eight hours in the restaurant’s kitchen preparing different dishes for customers. On the days he works the morning shift, he cooks his own Iftar at sunset.

“I make myself some salads, labneh, quesadilla and juices before going to Maghrib prayers,” said Shahzad, who eats with his colleagues at work. Uniting with people from different nationalities and cultures over food is another special aspect of Ramadan that Shahzad cherishes.

“My colleagues and seniors have been really supportive. They have dedicated an area for me upstairs to pray and allocated time for me to break my fast.”

Spending the day in prayers after his work shifts, Shahbaz comes together with his roommates for Suhoor at 4:00am.


On the last ten holy days of Ramadan, he intensifies his prayers at mosques, dedicating the whole night of the 27th of Ramadan to praying and reading the Quran.

“Ramadan is a special opportunity to get closer to our creator and heal spiritually.” For Shahzad, the holy month also yields some health benefits.

“In Ramadan, I feel lighter and healthier, and with every year, I leave some bad habits in my diet and general daily routine behind,” he said.


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