How much longer? When will it be time? I am so thirsty. Maybe I can just take a sip? No one’s going to find out.
A million thoughts ran through nine-year-old Ahmad’s head as he struggled to keep his first fast.
In the end, Ahmad succeeded keeping his first day of fasting. “It was difficult in the beginning, especially since I was at school and felt very thirsty. I’m proud I made it,” he said.
Ahmad credits his perseverance to his mother, Hanine Saif Al Deen. He said that she taught him to be patient.
“As his mother, I had to be encouraging. I think it helped when I asked him to compare a day’s hunger to the helplessness of poor people who go for days without food. I am happy that my children know their religious duties,” Hanine said.
Ahmad has an elder brother, 12-year-old Salah, and a three-year-old sister, Deema. While Salah fasted last year, he confesses that his fast was not as difficult, especially since he spent most of the day at home.
To help, Hanine allowed her children to fast for half a day until noon, before they could observe a full day’s fast.
“The practice fast helps a lot as it gives a fair idea of how the actual day might be like. I can now do more religious duties like praying and reading the Quran,” Ahmad said.
As a ritual, the Saif Al Deen family reads the Quran, each evening, before breaking their fast at iftar. It’s a good way, they say, to end the Sawm. Originally from Lebanon, the family of five has been in the UAE for the past eight years.
Ask Ahmad what his one thought was during the fast and the prompt response is – “spaghetti!”
He said: “It’s all I could think of. I even coaxed my mother to make me some.”
It was difficult in the beginning, especially since I was at school and felt very thirsty. I’m proud I made it.”
Ahmad Al Deen
Nine-year-old Lebanese expatriate
By Nasheet Jaffer Khan, Community Solutions Editor
Published: September 12, 2008, 00:30