The Islamic holy month of Ramadan began this year just a week after the summer solstice, meaning that Muslims have been required to abstain from food and drink for no fewer than 19 hours.
That is hard enough for most – but what does it mean for a surgeon who has to maintain a perfectly steady hand after 10 or more hours without a sip of water on a hot summer’s day? Or a firefighter who may have to keep up his fast even longer if he is called out to an emergency just as the sun sets? Or a chef who cannot taste his own food to make sure it is good?
Remona Aly explores how Muslims whose jobs make it almost impossible to fast manage to do it nonetheless.
At the kitchen of the Andaz Liverpool Street, which promises some of the best fine dining in East London, she meets Hameed Farook, the head chef – who explains how he can prepare the highest quality dishes without ever tasting them, and how he manages to maintain the Ramadan fast with the most tempting aromas wafting around him all day.
From Nasir Jilani, a firefighter for the London Fire Brigade, we hear about the importance of resilience and willpower in maintaining the fast. And Imran Haq, an eye surgeon Sheffield, explains how extra careful preparation for his operations is part of his Ramadan discipline.