For practising Muslims around the world, it is a time of reflection and community as we enter the third day of Ramadan.
And for one primary school boy in Singapore, it will be his first time fasting – but the shift in routine hasn't been easy for him.
In a TikTok video posted on Thursday (March 23) by user Ikinman, the first day of Ramadan in Singapore, the boy can be seen walking towards his mother who's waiting outside the school gate, as she asked him how was his very first fasting experience.
"You couldn't handle it?" the mum asked her son as he trudged towards her, shaking his head in response to the question.
When he was asked if he had eaten or drunk, he tried to deny it before the mother caught an eye of the bottle of water that he had bought in the side compartment of his backpack.
The mother then asked him when did he break fast, to which the boy replied sheepishly, "I don't know".
"It's okay, you can try again tomorrow okay," the mum proceeded to tell him, while gently caressing the top of his head.
"I don't want to survive another day," the boy told his mother, which got the mum encouraging her son even further.
The boy, who is teary-eyed at this point, revealed that he hadn't eaten anything and had just purchased the bottle of water right before the video was filmed, which was two hours before the iftar (fast-breaking evening meal).
"It's okay, I'm proud of you. Don't cry. You did your best right?" said the mother, as the son started tearing up.
The video then ends with the two exchanging a hug, where the son desperately said he wanted to eat something.
"That tired face, that dreaded body to move, that 'wanna die' face – mummy totally understand you!" the woman wrote in the caption of the post.
"I've been through it all also, just keep trying alright! Happy fasting all."
The post has since generated 100,000 views and 11,000 likes.
@ikinman Alolo that tired face, that dreaded body to move, that “wanna die” face -lol syg, mummy totally understand you! I’ve been through it also, just keep trying aight! Happy fasting all ❤️🙏 #ramadankareem ♬ Up and Away (Vocalese) - GHOSTLAND
'We're proud of him'
Many netizens took to the comment section to reassure the boy for his efforts as well, while others showered praise for the mum for being encouraging and understanding about his son's predicament.
The mother also said that his son had been trying half-day fasts since K1, but decided to give full-day fasting a shot this year.
Some netizens also opined that they feel like children shouldn't be subject to fasting as they are still growing up.
However, many Muslims said that "training" them from young is how they adapt to fasting while also developing the discipline for it, as it would be harder to fully enforce a full-day fast for young teenagers if they did not have experience with it.
In response to all the encouragement, Ikinman posted a follow-up video of her son's journey to fasting on the second day on Ramadan, where he was finally able to fast for a full day.
@ikinman Part 2: Update from yesterday’s post. Tq everyone that commented on the video/post, it was totally unexpected repost from @Mothership.sg & yahoo.sg. Appreciate all the love and support yall have for his determination. Its so heartwarming to see positive impact and also educating the non-muslims about how we train our little one to fast. Yes hes not needed to fast but its for him to try and get the feel of it so when hes older fasting comes naturally. Nonetheless happy fasting all, #salamramadhan ♬ original sound - ꧁∞𝓘𝓴𝓲𝓷𝓜𝓪𝓷™꧂
"Today I managed to handle it," the son said, this time with a smile.
In the video and the caption, the mum thanked everyone for their "love and support", and said that it was "heartwarming" to see the impact of the video.
She also acknowledged the comments on whether children should fast, saying that it's just for them to "try and get the feel of it" so that fasting becomes more natural to them when they start maturing in the future.
Speaking to AsiaOne, Ikinman, who is 33, said that his eight-year-old son, Ziqri, is now holding up all right.
"Just at that point of time, he felt sad as he couldn't take it and broke his fast," Ikinman said.
"I've uploaded an update video of the next day and he's all chirpy and happy. He managed to pull through with a little bit of getting used to."
She then explained that it's normal for kids and adults to feel the struggle for the first few days of Ramadan as the body slowly gets used to fasting, and that "naturally each day would then be easier".
"As a parent, this is another milestone for our kids," she added.
'Teaches them integrity, compassion': Mum
Ikinman said that it is already a proud moment for her children when they "want to try to fast" because they saw the adults in the household do it.
She then said that trying is what's important, even if they don't initially accomplish at doing so.
"It teaches them to set goals and targets and try to work on it to achieve it," she said.
"It also teaches them integrity, compassion, empathy and so much more than what I can mention."
When asked about her first fasting experience too, she said that her parents also made her try fasting for a full day too when she was his age, and said that "if I can, I'm sure he could too".
"But of course there are days when it gets too hot I'd break my fast without my parents knowing, mainly with water before resuming my fast," she said, adding that she can only do so privately as she will feel bad when she does.
ALSO READ: What's it like to fast for Ramadan? Non-Muslim goes 13 hours without food and water, ponders health and spiritual benefits
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