From fasting and prayer to spiritual gatherings, Iftar, Suhour and personal traditions there is so much to understand about this special time. Over the coming pages, we take a look at some of the elements that are so dear during the Holy Month, talk to Qatar residents about how they adjust and bring you a selection of the best options for breaking fast.


Although deeply spiritual in nature, Ramadan is mostly recognised (to non-Muslims) for its requirement of fasting from sunrise to sunset – this means no food or fluids even water, though for youngsters just beginning to fast and those who have recognised medical conditions, the restrictions may be eased.

It’s important to recognise the impact this abstention can have on the body and take precautions to protect your health. When the calories from your last meal are used up, the body will seek energy from carbohydrates stored in the muscles and liver.

When you don’t eat for long periods of time and the calories from your most recent meal have been used up, your body will start to use the carbohydrates and fat it has stored in your liver and muscles.

Hunger pangs are likely as you begin your fast and many Muslims actually start going without food for shorter periods before Ramadan to prepare themselves. The hunger should lessen after around a week as your body acclimatises to your new routine but you may experience constipation, mitigate this with healthy food choices during Iftar and Suhour and drinking plenty of water.


Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) traditionally ate dates to signal the start of the Iftar meal and this is something many Muslims still do, particularly in our part of the world. The fruits are packed with fibre, which helps digestion, and rich in fructose to replenish blood sugar levels.

Foods like rice with fish and meat are popular but remember it’s also important to eat a variety of vegetables to maintain balance and slow-releasing carbs like beans to quell hunger during the fasting hours. There’s often a temptation to tuck into lots of high sugar, high fat foods for a quick energy hit at the end of your fast but resist. Save the treats for Eid!


The meal before sunrise is crucial for those who are fasting – even if it means waking up really early, this is the food that sustains during the hungry hours and skipping it can affect the ability to fast.

Oats, eggs, cereals, yoghurt, wholegrain bread, fruit and nuts are all great foods to eat at Suhour. They’re healthy and fibrous, but they’re also slow-releasing and filling, giving the nutrients necessary to last throughout the day. It’s a good idea to avoid caffeine as this can be dehydrating.

Top Tips

  • Don’t overeat at Iftar – eat slowly.
  • Eat foods rich in water, for example soup and yoghurt.
  • Avoid salty foods – they will make you thirsty throughout the day.
  • Limit the amount of unhealthy/junk food you eat.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat colourful fruit and vegetables.
  • Go for a light walk after Iftar to aid digestion.

PR Manager and Mum

Heba Salah

I have a three-year-old son. Since he was a newborn, we have tried to do Ramadan decorations and lighting, as well as bring him gifts such as lanterns. We also learn about the Ramadan Crescent, praying and the vibes and we participate in food sharing with our neighbours. In his nursery, they do activities to help him remember Ramadan and Islamic concepts.

We are Egyptians and Ramadan is completely different in our country. But we love Ramadan in Qatar because it is a little quieter at work than in Egypt, and there are many nice vibes for things like Garangao and Ghabga, as well as many different buffets everywhere.

There are many new customs and traditions that children are learning, especially with the advancement of technology and social media platforms.

It’s difficult to fast with the kids, but most of the morning my son is in nursery and I’m trying to keep him hydrated and feed him because many fasting parents forget to feed their children while fasting!

I would advise parents to avoid being nervous while fasting, to be careful with hydration for their small children and to feed them in the morning. As young children should not fast before the age of seven, we are the only ones who can teach them about fasting.

Hospital Administrator

Amani Darwish

I have been in Qatar nine months. It is particularly nice to speak about Ramadan because Muslim Americans find it harder to celebrate and enjoy the Holy Month. I am expecting this Ramadan to be more fulfilling and not as lonely! For instance, working hours in the USA are not adjusted and I really did not know anyone apart from my immediate family who would be fasting. Here my hours will be adjusted and shorter than normal and my colleagues who are Muslim will be fasting . In Qatar, I will be able to hear the call to prayer and go to my local mosque for Taraweeh prayer. During the Holy Month, I like to organise boxes of food for poor people with my family and distribute them. Other times we gather collections and purchase meat for those less fortunate. I hope to continue the same traditions in Qatar with friends.”

Restaurant Manager

Muhammad Zeeshan

I am from Pakistan and have been here four years. In Qatar I really enjoy Ramadan because we have less working hours and Qatar facilities people by providing many discounts in malls and restaurants. Also, people enjoy the peaceful time here because of the air-conditioned environment everywhere. In my country, it’s a bit hard because things get expensive during Ramadan and there are no facilities provided by the government.

I manage a healthy food restaurant and our timings in Ramadan are from evening until the early hours of the morning. We have both locals and expat customers. I recommend people try salads and healthy main courses for Iftar as they will give you the energy required after a full day of fasting but with fewer calories.

To keep myself healthy while working the long Ramadan hours, I take proper sleep, eat a balanced diet and I drink more water during the night so I can manage my hydration in the daylight hours.