Mark Dowd is a radio and TV presenter and a former Dominican friar. Alison Hilliard has spent many years living in the Middle East and Africa and helping faith groups protect the environment.
Both are Things Unseen presenters. Both are rooted in their Christian faith. In this programme, Remona Aly challenges them to join her in the Ramadan fast for one long hot summer’s day.
Starting with a meal and prayer at 2 o’clock in the morning is an unusual way for them to begin the day. Going without food or water increasingly tests their physical stamina as the hours pass – but it also encourages them to be more sensitive to others who are fasting, and think about people elsewhere in the world who have no access to drinking water.
Mark and Alison also challenge Remona (a veteran of twenty years’ fasting) in turn, asking whether such a tough regime is in danger of breeding spiritual pride, and whether the purpose of Ramadan is to reap spiritual rewards in the hereafter.
The day ends at the London Muslim Centre, where the three break their fast with carrot cake and non-alcoholic beer, and a reflection on what the experience has done for them.