As Ramadan draws to a close and Muslims around the world prepare to take part in their Eid celebrations, one Leeds woman has taken the holiday spirit to heart and decided to fast for a day.
Terry Chapman has been an office manager at Auto Prestige for seven years, working for a Muslim manager and alongside staff of the same faith.
After seeing her colleagues fast every year during the Islamic holy month, she decided to ‘give it a go’ in 2016 and so organised a day where she wouldn’t let a morsel of food of a drop of drink past her lips.
For 23 hours, Terry followed the Islamic practice, and didn’t even read her daily novel in order to ‘keep a clear mind’.
Describing the experience as ‘rewarding’ and one she would be willing to do again, Terry said: “I enjoyed fasting and that’s the truth.
“I learnt that it’s not just about not eating, it’s about cleansing your soul and I did feel better for it after.
“Once it was finished though, I was at home at night and began wondering– how do kids do this in third world countries? The heat and poverty they have to face is an everyday struggle.
“Then I realised, it’s not only a problem overseas, it is also happening here on our doorstep. Many parents don’t have money to feed their children and they have no choice but to go hungry.
“They can’t just say, ‘I’ll have something to eat’ because there might not be anything in the cupboard. The same goes for the elderly and even my generation.”
As well as having no access to food or water, Terry didn’t brush her teeth during the fast –which she later discovered she was allowed to do.
“That was the worst bit for me,” she laughed. “It wasn’t until after my fast that I was told I could have actually brushed them.”
Arshad Mahmood, Auto Prestige director, fasts every year during Ramadan.
He was on hand throughout the day to encourage Terry, alongside his colleagues, and was delighted to hear positive feedback.
He said: “I am extremely proud of her because it was her idea and something she came up with completely on her own.
“She wanted to experience what Muslims go through and it can be difficult to keep the right kind of mindset, especially on the first day of fasting. For us, fasting is just as much about the spiritual mindset as well as what our bodies go through.
“I was very impressed with how she handled it and to hear that she was thinking of others during her time of fast.”
Arshad added: “As a business, we are proud to support local and overseas charities, not only during Ramadan, but throughout the year.”