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Fasting for the first time this Ramadan – what will my classmates say?

Fasting for the first time this Ramadan – what will my classmates say?

“I will be fasting for the first time this Ramadan and I’m worried about what my classmates will say. What should I do?” Whether you are a teenager finding yourself in this exact situation, or a parent or caregiver worried about their child, read our six tips below on how to handle a first fast in a school environment, insha’Allah.
“I will be fasting for the first time this Ramadan and I’m worried about what my classmates will say. What should I do?”
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This is an important question, and one that parents or caregivers often struggle to answer usually because they themselves grew up in a Muslim country and therefore never had to face that challenge. We commend all teens who open up and ask this kind of questions because it shows that they care about their deen and understand the importance that Islam plays in their life, and at the same time realize that they might not fit in the “norm” in society. Before we go over practical tips to make this first experience hopefully easier for you, young reader, we want to emphasize the importance of reaching out for help if you are ever in a situation of abuse by classmates or even teachers. Bullying is never okay, no matter whether you are in a public, private or Islamic school, and it has to be addressed as quickly as possible to avoid irreparable damage for you, socially, physically, mentally or spiritually. If you are being bullied, seek help immediately from a trusted adult (parent, caregiver, teacher, school staff, adult sibling or family member, counselor, community member). Do not try to convince yourself that “this is nothing at all, I’m being too emotional,
they just want to have fun.” So, what can you do to make this first Ramadan a positive experience in terms of school? 

1. Remember why you are fasting

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is such a special act of worship! And while it can feel overwhelming when it’s the first time or when the days are long or when school is in session, it’s also an amazing opportunity to grow closer to your Creator. We fast in Ramadan every year because Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى tells us in the Quran to do so, and He gives us this special time to connect with Him and with the Quran in a special way. It’s both public and private, because even if your classmates know you are fasting, only Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى knows if you’ve adhered to it in private. Restraining yourself for the sake of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and emptying your stomach is a way of actually filling your heart and spirit. It is a deeply spiritual experience. It’s important to remember the real reason why we fast in Ramadan, especially when we might face criticism or misunderstanding from others around us.

2. Talk to your caregiver(s)

As a teenager, it’s not always easy to talk to adults about things that bother us or things that we are anxious about, but we highly encourage you to find a trustworthy adult in your life (preferably your own parents) with whom you can share your fears and apprehensions about fasting this Ramadan. They can give you tips and be a support for you during this time.

3. Talk to your friends

If you have good Muslim friends in your life who will also be fasting, even if they don’t attend the same school, it can be helpful to talk with them about your concerns and fears. Since they are also fasting, they might be feeling the same fears, or maybe they have already fasted in previous years and can give you advice on how to go about your first fasting Ramadan. It helps to know other people may face the same fears and going through it alongside you even if they are at another school.


4. Talk to your school

Nowadays, many non-Muslim schools are very eager to know more about how they can support their Muslim students, including during Ramadan. Your homeroom or social studies teacher might be willing to help you organize a little presentation about Ramadan, for instance, normalizing this topic with the other students in your class who might be curious to know more. Sometimes people make fun of something because they don’t know enough about it or because it makes them uncomfortable since it is so different from their own culture or lifestyle. Many times, when the adults or people in charge introduce and normalize a topic, the children or people under them follow suit and feel comfortable after learning about it.


5. Focus on the positive

At the end of the day, remember that you cannot control what others might think or even say about something such as fasting in Ramadan. All you can do is to make sure that you have boundaries in place to protect yourself against bullying, and that you focus on the positive aspect of the situation. For instance, you might lose a friend or two who will not understand why you fast and will make the decision to make fun of you instead of trying to understand your religion, which is part of who you are – so have you really lost those friends, or have you gained a better understanding of who they really are? Experiences like this, as difficult as they might feel when we go through them, help us build resilience and emotional intelligence.


6. Make dua!

Never underestimate the power of dua’! We have placed this last but this doesn’t mean you should not start with dua-you totally should! Start with dua and never stop making dua’!

May Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى make your first fasting Ramadan an easy experience for you allow you to grow closer to Him, Ameen!


This article was originally published in our Studio Arabiya Times magazine (Spring 2023). CLICK HERE to read the whole magazine!

Got questions? We’ve got answers! Reach out to us at magazine@studioarabiya. com to ask a question about Islam and keep an eye out for a response in a future magazine issue insha’Allah!