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KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 -- Fasting abroad in a different cultural environment and amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge for Malaysian Muslims.
For example, in the African continent, one has to fast for a period of 15 to 16 hours a day in temperatures reaching 41 degrees Celsius.
Muhammad Amirul Hakim, 20, a second-year student at the International University of Africa, Sudan, said weathering the hot temperatures and fasting period were the main challenges for him during the month of Ramadan.
"One gets tired and thirsty quickly when fasting in Africa. In Sudan, the community breaks fast at home or in the open, regardless of race and ethnicity.
"(This year) tarawih prayers are carried out in line with standard operating procedures (SOPs) in view of COVID-19," the syariah and law student told Bernama via Facebook today.
Muhammad Amirul also said that there is no electricity supply during the day in his area, on instructions of the Sudanese government, and it is difficult to do any activities in the morning including sahur.
Meanwhile in Sweden, Rini Sabir Massgard said this year, her family and her are fasting for a period of 17 hours (a day) due to springtime in the country.
"The days are getting longer. I wake up at 1 am and break fast at 8.30 pm. But it is still manageable because I am now working from home and the weather is not hot. Just that waiting for the break of fast is very long,” said Rini who has lived in Sweden for eight years.
A group certification manager at a private company, Rini said fasting during a pandemic is no different only that not more than eight people are encouraged to gather.
Rini added that the atmosphere of Ramadan in the western country is like any a normal day and there are no Ramadan bazaars or Tarawih prayers (gatherings) as in Malaysia.
Nur Hananie Azhar, who is a syariah student at Al al-Bayt University in Mafraq, Jordan, said she was able to perform her fasting despite having to undergo a curfew every Friday.
The 19-year-old student said that fasting for 15 hours in hot temperatures reaching 35 degrees Celsius did not dampen her spirits.
“The challenge now is that we cannot perform obligatory or Tarawih prayers in the mosque due to the pandemic. There is no Ramadan bazaar and the Aidilfitri celebration is also less lively because Jordanians celebrate Aidiladha with more joy,” Nur Hananie added.
Muslims in Sudan, Sweden and Jordan, like in Malaysia began fasting on April 13.