The holy month of Ramadan comes with great spiritual discipline which may prove tough for young Muslims. It’s said that during this time, the devil has been put on a leash and you’re solely responsible for whatever wrongdoings you commit. 

While it might seem like most people have their shit together and lead a pristine month, there are others who find it hard to keep up with the demands of the holy month. You might learn a thing or seven from the stories of these young Muslims.

Ibrahim*, 30

Waking up for Sahoor is the hardest part of Ramadan for me. I’m such a heavy sleeper and even my alarm has the toughest job trying to wake me up. Left to me, I’ll go on without waking up to eat sahoor. Unfortunately, the waking and eating bit also makes your fasting valid so you can’t decide to skip it. Thank God my younger brother is around. He’s been the one waking me up since we started.

Balikis*, 25

This might sound weird but the only thing I struggle with during Ramadan is this awful taste in my mouth. I can’t describe it. It’s sort of this bitter-ish taste you get when you’re about to come down with malaria. You should see my brushing after sahuur. I do everything—floss, tongue scrape, gargle with mouthwash—yet it never leaves. I once spoke to a doctor about it and he said something about acid reflux. A friend suggested using chewing sticks to clean my mouth after every ablution, so that’s something I’m trying this month.

Kehinde*, 27

I don’t look forward to Ramadan because of the midnight cooking. It’s the hardest part for me. Growing up, my mum used to handle it and she’d only come to wake us up when food was ready. But now that we’ve grown older, the baton has been handed down to me and my sisters. We’ve devised a roaster to make it easier but I don’t think that does much. I still get to cook four times a week. My consolation is the reward from Allah and the prayers that follow when I serve my parents. 

Mariam*, 27

Ramadan is the only month when it feels like I’m in a long-distance relationship. I cut down on visits to my boyfriend and even our communication isn’t all that. Islam doesn’t quite agree with the concept of dating, so it’s just one of those “sinful” acts I tone down on during Ramadan. Does it take a toll on me? Yes. Because I don’t get to see the one person who babies me. But thankfully, he’s also a Muslim so he also understands. I can’t wait for when we’re married and spend Ramadan together as a proper couple.

Ahmed*, 24

Outside of Ramadan, it’s easier to form unlooking when you miss your salat or hear the call to prayer. It’s hard to do that during Ramadan. It’s constantly ringing in your head that your fast is void and unaccepted if you don’t complete your five daily prayers. As someone who struggles with five daily prayers, I like that this Ramadan makes me more intentional. Is it difficult? Yes. Would I rather skip prayers? Probably. But, deep down I know I’m getting my rewards for doing one of the most basic things expected. 

Jamiu*, 28

Ramadan as a bachelor isn’t easy. I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve considered moving back home just to spend the month with my parents. It’s not just about the waking and cooking bit, there’s also the loneliness that makes the entire process hard on you. Back at home, Sahur is always a vibe. There’s the fun bit of seeing who wakes up first, we get to eat as a family and watch some of the Muslim shows that air around that time. But here, it’s just me, myself and I doing it all alone. Although I try to channel that feeling of loneliness into reading the Quran, listening to sermons and other things that can earn my rewards in the holy month.

Jumoke*, 30

There’s something different about Ramadan in the UK compared to Nigeria. Back home, there’s this sense of “Ramadan is in the air” you get. You don’t feel lonely in all of that experience of waking up to cook at midnight, going for tarawee and attending tafsir because there are so many people doing it around. It’s not like that here. This is my third Ramadan and I’ve been slightly agitated since we started because I don’t know what this one will bring. I struggled during my last two—No friends, away from my family, missed so many fasting days and cried a lot. Now, I’m part of a Muslim community and it helps. But it’s still not like fasting at home. 

Read next: How to Make Time Faster During Ramadan



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.