Ramadan is the holiest month on the Islamic calendar. Muslims all over the world spend their days fasting—a form of self-restraint that heightens spirituality amongst other things.
It’s a vastly religious experience that comes with its own set of traditions and rituals, but not every Muslim participates. Why? Reasoning varies. According to Islamic tradition, women are exempt when menstruating, pregnant, or breastfeeding. Anyone with health issues that requires a daily dose of medicine is exempt too.
As society dictates, as long as those who don’t fast present a well-known Islamically-justifiable excuse, shame and exclusion won’t follow. Any of the below, and you can expect the opposite.
“Fasting is not good for your health”
“I don’t pray so I won’t fast”
“I have a (non-existent) iron deficiency”
“I have exams”
“I need to take my vitamins”
“It’s too hot I don’t want to lose too much water”
“What’s the point in fasting if I’m just going to break my fast alone”
“My job is so demanding”
Photography by Sarah Ben Romdane