Yes I know, I know. It really is time to shake things up a little on this neglected blog of mine. So, here is something different: an interview with the most special man in my life about his experience (so far) of Ramadan in a Muslim country.
Zoya: So we’re a week into Ramadan and everything is going well, but did you have any anxiety or fears about this Ramadan?
Hubby: The heat. I was really worried about the heat. Obviously it’s getting hotter day by day, it’s around 46 degrees so I thought I’m going to feel thirsty all the time. One thing that really helps is air con which we don’t have in the UK (and that probably adds to the thirst). So yeah, I’m doing okay, I make sure to drink plenty of water after iftari and have fruits like watermelon.
Z: Obviously the days are shorter here so apart from that, how has this experience been different to fasting in the UK?
H: The whole country is in Ramadan mode so it’s not like the UK where you go to work and people are eating, or you walk down a street and people are smoking, drinking etc. So everyone is going through the same thing this month, even non-muslims don’t eat in public out of respect. People are more understanding that you’re fasting and they leave you to it. And I love the unity that it brings out in everyone. I love when I go to the masjid for iftari/magrib and see such a wide range of people from different backgrounds. Everyone is breaking fast together, welcoming each other and force feeding each other (lol). It’s a heart warming experience, especially seeing the less fortunate people being looked after during this month. You see charity taking place in front of you. The whole atmosphere in the masjid is amazing, it is very spiritual. Outside of the masjid, there are Ramadan decorations everywhere – in the malls, on the streets and roadsides. That really made it feel like ‘Yes, Ramadan is here’.
Z: I agree. Do you ever feel like you’re missing out by not fasting in the UK? Is there anything you really wish you could have here?
H: Virginias, family, and friends. Especially at sehri and iftari, I miss eating with family as it’s the only time in the year we all sit and eat together. Usually people are at work or out, and everyone eats at different times. I miss eating out at restaurants with the lads…that’s an experience I wish I could have this Ramadan.
Z: Is there anything you definitely don’t miss about fasting in the UK?
H: The long hours. They’re a killer.
Z: I know you’re trying hard not to snapchat every meal because of the time difference. So what has been your favourite food/drink/thing to eat this Ramadan?
H: I’m not eating fried stuff anymore – don’t know how or why we do it in the UK, it’s really hard here because you feel like it’s just stuck to you. For iftari, I love some baked chicken with grilled veg, it’s healthy and filling. And the dates and almond milkshake we’ve started drinking this Ramadan, that’s new for me. It’s really delicious.
Z: Did you set any goals for yourself this Ramadan, what were they and how are they going?
H: Yes – my goals were probably similar to everyone else’s. Praying all of my prayers plus extra, spending as much time as I can in worship, being more patient (not getting angry or grumpy) and…to give up fizzy drinks. All of them are going well so far, especially not getting angry…that’s the one I’m happiest about. I reckon I’ve done well. Don’t you think?
Z: I agree, you’re an actual human this Ramadan rather than the Hulk. Describe Ramadan in Qatar in 3 words.
H: Peaceful, religious, and exciting.
Z: And finally, any parting words of wisdom for the readers? Maybe a comment about your awesome wife (no pressure love).
H: No life without wife. That’s all….and when do I get paid for this interview?
[Cover picture courtesy of Qatar Airways]