Life on the front line as a Muslim police officer in Yorkshire during Ramadan

PC Arfan Rahouf has spoken exclusively to The Yorkshire Post to give an insight into what it is like being a Muslim police officer during Ramadan.

The role of a police officer is known for being fast-paced, particularly when working on the front line and responding to 999 calls. Officers can be pulled in any direction and make snap decisions, and therefore it is vital they eat healthy and be fuelled correctly for the day.

For North Yorkshire Police officer Arfan Rahouf, who has served with the force for seven years, this can be a particular challenge for one month in the year that is particularly close to his heart- Ramadan.

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Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and during this period, most Muslims fast between dawn and sunset. Fasting allows Muslims to devote themselves to their faith. It is thought to teach self-discipline and reminds them of the suffering of the poor.

PC Arfan Rahouf
PC Arfan Rahouf

Fasting for up to 18 hours a day can be a challenge for a police officer, as PC Rahouf explains: "Going without food for 18 hours is a spiritual, mental and physical test and for me, the first couple of days are always the hardest.

"On a typical day I will fast until 8.10pm and then carry out my prayers at 11pm. Then I will go to sleep and make sure I am awake to have something to eat before sunrise. If I am lucky I will get an hour or so sleep before I get up for work.

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PC Rahouf says Ramadan gives him the opportunity for a "spiritual recharge".

PC Arfan Rahouf.

"It’s the time of year when I’m especially aware of the lightning speed pace of my life and the work I do," he said. "Ramadan forces me to take a step back and try and slow down where I can to focus on the essence of the month – to connect me more deeply with my faith and to understand just how short my tenancy is in the world and how limited my time is in the spaces I’m present in. It allows me to refocus all areas of my life.

"It makes me think about what is important - family, friends, relationships - and how I adjust my time accordingly. This means refining my ‘To Be’ list and not letting the ‘To Do’ list get the better of me, which tends to happen for most of the year."

PC Rahouf has put pen to paper to write daily diaries during Ramadan to share his experience with the public.

He said: "It's all about bringing the community together. As a public servant it is my duty to give the community an insight as to a police officer what we do as well as what we practice.

PC Arfan Rahouf

"I have had people coming up to me saying they have read the diary and how interesting it is and that it has educated them on the basis steps on Ramadan."

During Ramadan, PC Rahouf will recite the Quran daily and perform Sunnah Prayers. He will also increase his remembrance of Allah (God).

PC Rahouf said: "I will start off and end Ramadan by remembering why I chose to fast in the first place, and it's all because of Allah.

"During this holy month of Ramadan I will continue to increase my remembrance of Allah of doing simple things such as praying and setting my intentions right."

"I will do a lot more of my prayers at home this year," PC Rahouf said.

"I will go to the mosque, but it there are too many people I will go straight back home.

"Another reason why a lot of Muslims are looking forward to the blessed month of Ramadan is the ability to rekindle old friendships over iftar. This year will be difficult with the Covid guidelines however I have already got some virtual events lined up to break fast with some great friends."

Ramadan lasts for 30 days and will end on Tuesday, May 11.