I feel a sense of sadness not to be fasting

Ramadan and the next generation

As Ramadan begins, with its stockpiling of dates, invitations to iftars and a spirit of camaraderie amongst Muslims that is stronger than at any other time of year, I feel a sense of sadness not to be fasting.

This year, as I am breastfeeding my baby, I have chosen not to fast. As he likes to sleep at 8pm and wakes up for feeds several times a night, hosting or attending iftars or taraweeh prayers is impractical.

I have found comfort in the idea that there are other ways for me to benefit spiritually in this month. I will be reading the Qur’an more, making sure I say my prayers on time and feeding my fasting husband! In addition, I now understand that the allowance for pregnant and breastfeeding women not to fast is truly a blessing that Allah has given us, as He recognises the importance of these acts in our role as mothers. In fact, breastfeeding my son is to me also an act of faith, as it is something no-one else can do for him, and it is giving him the best possible start in life.

As a new mother, I often worry about how my son will perceive Islam and Muslims as he grows up. There is so much negativity around Islam today in the media that it can be hard to find the positive stories in a sea of bad ones. For him, I am glad that a community like IMI exists, that welcomes Muslims of all backgrounds, that is championing equality and diversity and striving to create and change, to challenge and to succeed.

Dr. Sonia Wilson
IMI Volunteer & Khateeba