This past week, which is officially part of the last ten days of Ramadan, a sacred time when worshiping efforts are intensified, we spoke to some of the amazing Muslims fasting while working, studying, volunteering, and exercising.
The author, of Sudanese descent, invites Metro.co.uk to see what an iftar combining her two different cultures looks like.
Yassmin, who recently published her first work of fiction, remembers and compares what Ramadan was like in Sudan, in Australia and now in London where she lives.
Her iftars are a fusion of different and delicious delicacies.
Lets see what she had for iftar:
So what are you eating tonight?
Today we have a bit of a cultural mix, reflecting my life here in London. We have fool (Sudanese broad or fava beans) and bayd (arabic for eggs), and shorbat adas (lentil soup) – theyre the Sudanese staples I can make quickly and confidently.
We also have salatat zabadai (yoghurt and cucumber salad), variants of which can be found all over the Mediterranean and North Africa.
What does a traditional Sudanese iftar look like?
We break fast like many others with a date and water. The first course is usually a soup: cauliflower, pumpkin, or lentil soup. At that point we take a digestion break to pray, before getting into the main meal.
Growing up, that usually consisted of tameeya (like falafel), fool, eggs, salads, eggplant (either in a salad or in a béchamel) and then on special occasions something like aseeda wa mullah, like a porridge with the local stew, or a protein like fried fish, chicken or lamb.
We typically also have sweet drinks like carkadeh (hibiscus drink) hulumur, mishmish (apricot), and guava. My grandmother also used to make a mean lemonade!
Well almost always finish up with tea, coffee and a sweet dessert like basboosa (semolina cake).
For suhoor (pre-dawn meal), we usually have um Ali (puff pastry soaked in sweet milk and raisins) or run bi laban (rice porridge).
Sounds delicious. So what do you crave while fasting?
I often hanker for the easy, simple, food of home: fool, bayd and tameeya. The smells, tastes and textures make me think of warmth, comfort and family, and who doesnt want that in a holy month?
I generally dont miss food. But coffee! Oh, I do miss that.
Same. So, what does Ramadan mean to you?
Ramadan is a spiritual reset button, an opportunity for me to take a moment – a month, in fact – to not only spiritually detox, but physically do so as well.
My routines change: so rather than the day being structured around food, its around prayer times.
I also try to make a more conscious effort to slow down, read more Quran, connect more with family and community. I look forward to it every year, and although sometimes on long London days it can be exhausting, its a month I am grateful for.
How old were you when you first began fasting?
I went to a Muslim primary school in Brisbane, so my early years were filled with trying to compete with the other kids in class to see who could fast the most.
My parents let me start slow – one day a week, then the weekends, then I moved up to every second day and by the time I was 10 or 11, I was proud to be fasting all of Ramadan without needing to take much of a break at all!
Did you ever accidentally break your fast as a child?
One morning, observing Ramadan in Sudan, I woke up and got out of bed and then for some reason started scoffing the lollies in the guest tray in the living room!
I must have really needed some sugar. Hand full of lollies I froze and realised Id completely forgotten it was Ramadan. My parents said that because I hadnt done it on purpose, the fast counted and so I fasted the rest of the day as normal.