What Ramadan means to me: Ruksana Hafesji-Wade

Ruksana is a member of the Inclusion Advisory Group at the NFA

As Ramadan begins, we take a look at what this important period in the Muslim calendar means to some of those involved in county football. This is Ruksana’s story…

When I was younger I found myself becoming apprehensive a couple of weeks before Ramadan, asking myself if I would be able to fast, how tired would I be feeling, would I be able to manage to keep up with what other people might be achieving. As I have aged this feeling has diminished and once the day of Ramadan begins I find myself totally prepared, I find myself in a different mind-set, I feel at peace, reflective, not hungry and most importantly reminded that my creator does not put Ramadan on me as a chore, competition or punishment; rather as a time for reflection, contemplation and re-evaluation of my lifestyle and my life journey.

The hardest part of Ramadan for me is feeling tired especially as breaking fast and evening prayers are later this time of year (as Muslims follow the Lunar calendar fasting times change each year).  

For me Ramadan is not about shutting myself away and only focusing on fasting and prayers. Ramadan gives me the possibilities and opportunities to enable me as a human to get through a normal day with no food or fluid intake yet still have the ability to deal with all of life’s challenges, it provides hope and fulfilment. 

Yes I fast, yes I read the Quran (holy book regarded by Muslims as the sacred word of God), yes I do  five daily prayers; however more importantly, Ramadan for me is about reconnecting with myself, reflecting on my actions, slowing my pace of life and asking myself what can I do to better for the world I live in, for the community, environment and for myself.       

I find Ramadan a healing experience; yes it can feel a little intense and I personally can’t maintain my actions of Ramadan day in, day out throughout the year, however Ramadan does gives me that focus to put the lessons learnt during this holy period throughout the rest of the year. It also helps as a reminder of how blessed I am, when so many people are going without food and water, without the comfort of knowing when their next meal will come.              

During Ramadan I do not listen to music and try not to watch TV (although footy is an exception).

In more recent years I have ensured I have maintained an active lifestyle during Ramadan and have played walking football during Ramadan. Last Ramadan my goal was to continuing running. I ran at least one 5k run a week during Ramadan – I managed to clock up 40k during the month of Ramadan. I usually went out just before I broke my fast knowing that when it was time to eat I could hydrate myself with water and dates. My active challenge to myself this year is to walk at least 20k each week of Ramadan. 

For more information on Ramadan and football, please download The FA’s guidance notes for 2021 HERE