Could non Muslim expats benefit from observing Ramadan

Published:  14 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: UAE, Teach Abroad
As Ramadan approaches, expats living and working in the UAE might well be asking themselves whether they’d benefit from a month’s fasting and self-examination.

Many Western expats in the UAE wonder every year whether they’d derive benefits from joining in the fasting during the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan. Questions about the experience itself, coping with fasting and whether a foreign non-believer could actually do it eventually lead to a few actually trying it. One female teacher who’d formerly lived in Egypt had stayed with a local family and decided to fast with them, referring to her experience of Ramadan as wonderful and describing fasting all day and coming together as a group over the evening meal.

She told local reporters she believes having a support group around you if you’re fasting for the first time makes it easier, as they can help you plan for its effect on your body. Not eating is one thing, but not drinking in a hot country is a different story, but regular fasters know the tips and tricks of staying hydrated during a long day. She added that Ramadan isn’t just about fasting as it’s a time to get rid of bad behaviour, bad language and negative thoughts by spreading goodwill, embracing the community and being grateful for your life and what you have.

Of course, she said, the fast itself detoxifies the body as well as the mind, actually leaving you healthier at the end of the month that you were at its beginning. It’s also a way to show respect for the place you’re living in as well as to understand more about the culture of Islam and to show solidarity with those who’re fasting for religious reasons.

Another Roman Catholic teacher said she recognised the importance of the Holy Month, seeing it as a time to rejoice but also helping her to understand the crucial part Ramadan plays in the UAE and in Islam worldwide. As regards medical reasons to fast, it can protect brain cells from everyday damage, strengthens the heart muscle, reduces blood pressure, fights diabetes, has a positive effect on your metabolism and burns fat whilst retaining muscle.
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