We’ve reached the last 10 days of Ramadan, and we hope that you’ve been having a productive Ramadan! Throughout our Ramadan Experiences series, we’ve read stories from amazing individuals in Singapore and abroad and their journey navigating through this holy month. We’re continuing to the seventh part of the series, with Mia, who was born with Thalassaemia major, a chronic and genetic condition ?
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P.S. Here’s a roundup of our Ramadan Experiences so far! Do check them out!
- This Mother In SG Shares How Her Son With Autism Approaches Ramadan
- This Syrian-American Student Shares His First Time Fasting In Madinah
- This Singaporean Chinese Convert Shares His Experience On Finding Himself Through Islam
- This Singaporean Student Shares Her First Time Fasting In Melbourne
- This SG Chinese Muslim Hopes To Help Fellow Converts Navigate Through Their Journey In Islam
- Our Non-Muslim Colleague Tries Fasting For A Day And Here's Her Experience
Thalassaemia And Ramadan: How Mia Balances Both
1. How is fasting different for you?
Personally for me, I will fast on most days except when I’m not feeling too well due to fatigue or falling ill and on days I have to go for blood transfusions, which occurs once every three weeks. It’s advised not to fast when you’re having blood transfusions because you might feel giddy afterwards, and abstaining from food makes us feel quite lethargic. For Ramadan, I take my medication during sahur. If I forget, I will eat during breakfast because I only need to eat my medication once a day. Apart from these, I don't really have much of a routine change for Ramadan; it’s just waking up earlier for sahur ?
2. What are some difficulties you face during Ramadan and how do you overcome them?
I’m currently working in retail, whilst managing three small businesses and three young children at the same time, which means I truly need all the energy I can get to manage all my responsibilities. Since I have Thalassaemia Major, I get exhausted very easily, and sometimes I feel quite tired even before half of the day, which does get a little frustrating especially when you just have so many things on your plate ? But I’ve learned the importance of having a nutritious, filling sahur. I started to change my sahur meals, so instead of having rice, which just exacerbated my exhaustion, I started eating more nutritious food such as overnight oats, or a few slices of bread with milk, and it surprisingly helps me a lot! I can better manage my fatigue and still get by my day with a little more energy! ?
3. What keeps you motivated to go through Ramadan despite these challenges?
It does get a bit troublesome to keep planning my life around my illness. Sometimes on days when I’m at the hospital the entire day for the transfusions, I realise I could have done a lot more things if I didn’t have thalassemia. But I always try to remember one thing: Ramadan only happens once a year, and we only have this special chance just once where we can try to be a better version of ourselves ? So I’ll take this opportunity to do the best that I can, and do my ibadah whenever I am able to do so. Taking things slowly and gradually is much better than rushing through at the start and then losing motivation towards the end!
4. What are some misconceptions you face in relation to thalassaemia and Ramadan?
It’s always the same old question of ‘whether those having blood transfusions can fast or not’. Some would say that it invalidates your fast because blood transfusions, like food and water, are a form of nourishment for your body. I was told by an ustaz a couple of years ago, that you can fast because blood transfusions are not temporary nourishments, because unlike food and water, which you can live without for hours, or even days, in simple terms, we need blood to stay alive, so we can fast while having these transfusions. Others also would say that as long as it doesn’t harm the person or have a debilitating effect, it doesn’t invalidate the fast, but we can break it if we feel tired or weak. Whatever you decide to do, do ask your doctor for advice on whether you can fast. You should also assess for yourself if you can fast for the day! ?
5. Lastly, what advice would you give to fellow Thal rockstars?
I know there are some days you might feel disappointed that you can’t partake in Ramadan, such as fasting, but I always remember this: ”Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear” (2:286). And He knows better than us, so take it easy, don’t be too hard on yourself and always do the best you can! If you need someone to talk to, you can always message me via myTikTok or Instagram page! ?
Mia will share her video on her daily routine during Ramadan, so stay tuned to find out more!