Sahron and Noraisa Tamano with their daughters.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Filipino Sahron Tamano from Marawi City, Lanao del Sur in Mindanao had his first fasting experience, guided by his widowed mother and alongside cousins of his age when he was seven years old.
“It was one day, repeated after a week and managed to fast for three days in that one whole month of Ramadan. My wife Noraisa also first fasted when she was seven years old.”
Fast forward to 2020, the Tamanos who have been Sharjah residents in the last 14 years, have been observing the ritual with their two daughters, aged 15 and nine, the younger being UAE born.
“Our children grew up differently with our first having been raised by my (deceased) mother. The younger was the one who asked if she could already fast when she was six years old. We let her a year later.”
The younger, for her first year, was able to fast for three consecutive days “then in the middle of Ramadan and the last two days.”
“Both our girls are fasting perfectly from day one. Alhamdulilah, the current situation of stay home helps them more understand the spiritual and health values of the Holy Month.”
Gulf Today reached out to the Tamanos as on Saturday, consultant pediatrician Dr. Mohamed Wasfy El Abiary shared tips on how parents and the elders encourage the young go fasting.
“Over the years, I have been approached by and witnessed families who are keen to implement the idea of fasting in their children’s minds even after they reach puberty. Not all are successful.”
Abiary, connected with the Al Zahra Hospital-Dubai, highlighted the parents’ concerns of these children between the ages of eight and 13, too.
These are parents being “more preoccupied with achieving the goal of training their children to fast at Ramadan when they reach the eligible age; the children’s coping ability with the demands of school and going through physical exercises; the children’s inability to follow the Iftar/snack/Suhour diet plan leading to either “under and overfeeding and the “tendency” to (consume) more sweets which are mostly available during the season;” and the erratic sleeping pattern.
Following is Abiary’s advice:
• It is essential to teach children the true meaning of fasting, the importance and benefits of abstaining from food and drinks, and the significance of self-control. They must be psychologically prepared and learn to value healthy lifestyle and nutrients-rich food like fresh vegetables and fruits, apart from vitamins and proteins.
• Fasting must be introduced gradually. Children’s coping mechanisms vary.
• Maintain the eight-hour sleep schedule of children. They must sleep early so they appreciate Suhour.
• A walk or a light physical workout two hours after Iftar.
Abiary’s Ramadan meal plan for children:
Iftar: Dates, water, soup followed by a home-made meal.
Snack: Sweets in moderation, twice to thrice per week and unsweetened fresh juices.
Suhoor: The most important meal which must be rich in fibre in addition to yoghurt.
Abiary expressed hope that with the remaining days of the Holy Month of Ramadan, children would look forward to each day as the “atmosphere of joy and excitement at home” is continually fostered while they are highly encouraged to participate in prayers, and charity.
“I hope with these practical pattern, the children will see and experience more the benefits and values of the Holy Month.”
Earlier, in another development, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. expressed his gratitude to the UAE which he also described as a “true model of generosity and humanitarian assistance” on Thursday morning in the National Capital Region of Metro Manila.
The occasion was the symbolic turn-over ceremony of seven metric tonnes of anti-Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) personal protective equipment (PPEs) and medical supplies by the UAE to the Philippines, courtesy of UAE Ambassador to the Philippines Hamad Saeed Hamad Obaid Alzaabi.
The ceremonies were held at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) headquarters in Pasay City, Metro Manila. In attendance were Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, National Policy Against COVID-19 Secretary and Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez, DFA Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Brigido Dulay, and DFA Assistant Secretary for Middle East and African Affairs Leslie Baja.
The first day of Ramadan is most likely to fall on April 13. UAE residents will have to observe approximately 14 hours of fasting with a slight difference between various regions of the country.
The destination announced that new attractions will be added during this period and will reopen its doors with more exciting activities after Ramadan, on the first day of Eid Al Fitr.
Medical test for Coronavirus disease does not invalidate fasting, said eminent Islamic scholar Sheikh Abdullah Al Hammadi. However, he stressed that those who are not well or have doubt that they might be affected by the Coronavirus should not fast. They should make up for the lost days after Ramadan when they are healthy.
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