Muslims worldwide observe Ramadan as a month of increased spiritual reflection, self-improvement, sacrifice, self-discipline, self-control, devotion and worship, through abstinence from food, drink, sexual relations and general avoidance of sinful speech and behavior. Ramadan postulates empathy for the less fortunate by encouraging actions of generosity and compulsory charity (zakat).
Fasting (sawm or roza or puasa) during the holy month of Ramadan is obligatory for adult Muslims, except the ill, traveling, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding. The predominant practice is fasting from sunrise to sunset. The pre-dawn meal before the fast begins is called suhoor and the sunset meal that breaks the fast is called iftaar.
This is the story of 4 incredible persons who, through their immense faith, ignore their unavoidable daily labour while observing Ramadan, without a drop of water.
Tayyeba Khatoon is a 96-year-old great-grandmother, who has been observing Ramadan for the last 88 years, without fail. She will not give this up for anything. Faith keeps her going. She feels tired, weak and dozes off sometimes but observes Ramadan faithfully.
Mohammad Siddique is a 86-year-old rickshaw-puller. His territory is from Mahatma Gandhi Road to New Market, through Weston Street. Normally, he plies his rickshaw 10 hours a day but during Ramadan, he does 4 hours across six kilometers and is not happy with his under-delivery. He doesn’t feel tempted to break his roza on a muggy afternoon.
57-year-old Basheer is a professional cook, who cooks food for iftaar for 1000 people each evening, on a wood-fed oven in his little kitchen Ripon Street but cannot taste a morsel. Basheer lives with his family, wife Rehana, daughter Zeenat (3rd year student of Chemical Engineering) and son Sheikh Mohammad Ali (Class 10 student). The family lives in a tiny room next to the kitchen where Basheer cooks every day on four ovens. He does not even drink water during the day and is totally dehydrated by the end of the day when he is done with cooking and its iftaar time.
Priya Home is a Catholic by birth but observes Ramadan every year. She is a teacher and runs a school named Sacred Heart with her husband in Picnic Garden. In the evening she teaches underprivileged children of the rikhshaw-pullers and domestic helps. She breaks her fast with the children, the rickshaw-pullers and the domestic helps.
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