My Ramadan: No pregnant pause for this fasting mother
DUBAI // The impending pitter patter of tiny feet is making this Ramadan particularly special for Asma Lootah.
The Emirati is expecting her first daughter in September and can hardly wait for the new arrival.
“I am very excited,” said the 29-year-old Dubai resident, who also has a two-year-old son.
Ms Lootah has continued to fast while pregnant because, for her, one of the most important parts of the Islamic month is the moments just before sunset as she and her family come together for iftar.
“The most significant thing for me is the family gathering,” said Ms Lootah, who works as an architect at Dubai Municipality and in her spare time is a make-up artist.
The Emirati mother marks the breaking of the fast every night during the holy month with a gathering of up to 30 immediate and extended family members.
“We like to gather at iftar time,” she said. “A lot of us live apart and in separate houses so we like to gather together in one house.”
A key part of iftar is her mother’s cooking, in particular her legendary kunafa – a Levantine cheese pastry – and her qatayef, a traditional Arab dessert of sweet dumpling filled with cream or nuts.
“The sweets my mother does are a key part of our family gathering,” she said. “I love this about Ramadan.”
Ramadan is not only about fasting and sweet treats, Ms Lootah said. The month is a time to reflect, seek inner peace and seek out people to help who need the aid of others, she said.
“It is about connecting with your inner God.
“It is about concentrating more on the spiritual aspects plus trying to connect with other people and doing more charity work.
“In Ramadan we like to do lots of charitable work and give lots of donations.”
Giving back is something Ms Lootah takes seriously every Ramadan.
This year she learnt about Kiva.org, a non-profit lending platform that encourages people to make small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries.
“It gives poor people backing to gain financial independence by starting their own business,” said Ms Lootah, who has used the organisation as one of her main ways of giving back this month.
“It is a great website; they help people in all poor countries.”
The photograph accompanying this story was changed. It incorrectly carried a photo of Asma Lootah, the founder of the Hundred Wellness Centre in Dubai.
Updated: July 14, 2015 04:00 AM