Ramadan 2022: A Day in the Life of Natheem Hendricks

Posted by Becca Parkinson - Wednesday, 20 Apr 2022


This April, Manchester University Press is running a series of blog posts to mark the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, charity and community.

Today we hear from author Natheem Hendricks, who has a chapter in the forthcoming The rise of global Islamophobia in the War on Terror. Natheem shares a day in his life during Ramadan.

My name is Natheem Hendricks. I reside in Cape Town, South Africa. I am a Senior Lecturer within the Faculty of Education at the University of the Western Cape, where my responsibilities include delivering the MA in Adult Learning and Global Change (offered collaboratively with Linkoping University in Sweden and the University of British Columbia, Canada) and supervising doctoral and Master’s students.

Allow me the opportunity to wish you a Ramadan Kareem.

In the month of Ramadan, I aim to manage and ensure that I do justice to all aspects of my life, balancing work with family, community and religious responsibilities. Below, I describe how I spend 24 hours in Ramadan, and share what this holy month means to me.

7.45pm: Each night of Ramadan, Muslims perform a special prayer in addition to the evening prayer, called ‘taraweeh’. I attend the taraweeh from 7.45pm to 12.50am at Masjid Monier in Constantia, one of the local suburbs of Cape Town.

The taraweeh prayer, like all prayers, starts with the reading of the first chapter of the Qur’an (the Muslim holy book): Surah Al Fatiha, The Opening. This chapter consists of seven verses, and emphasises humans’ need for Allah’s (God’s) assistance, guidance and mercy in this world and the hereafter.

After the taraweeh prayer, I sit to read the Qur’an. I intend to read the Qur’an in its entirety over this month. The Qur’an is split into thirty chapters; I aim to complete a chapter before I go to bed. I am conscious that I need sufficient sleeping time – as well as having my pre-dawn breakfast – before the morning prayer that marks the start of my fasting.

4.30am: Time for morning prayer. I do not always go to bed after performing the morning prayer. Instead, I might start some work – such as reviewing the work of one of my research students, or some preparatory work on the course I am teaching, including reading that I need to do before teaching begins.

12.50pm: It is almost time for the Dhuhr, the afternoon prayer, and accordingly I prepare myself. I want to go to the local Masjid (mosque), but I may not have sufficient time to make the community prayer – so I settle on performing Dhuhr at home. After completing the prayer, I take some time to read the Qur’an in Arabic, and read up on the translations.

3pm: At about 3pm, I am reading the work of another student. Completing that, I check whether a research proposal meets all ethical requirements. I am also working on transforming an article I have co-written so that it can be published by a local newspaper. I need to reduce the word count significantly, and adapt the style for a non-academic audience.

4.30pm: By 4.30pm, I have completed Asr, the late afternoon prayer. After this, I have time to complete any other tasks for the day. For example, as the chairperson of Masjid Monier, I have to produce a poster for an event we are offering, which will bring together reciters of the Qur’an. Some of these reciters have gained international recognition for the standard and quality of their recitation.

6.40pm: When it is almost time for the evening prayer, I get some food to take to the Masjid to share with the other congregants who are also breaking their fast at the Masjid. After Magrib (sunset prayer), I come home for supper, and prepare for the late evening prayer and taraaweeh – and so proceeds a day in my Ramadan life.

Natheem Hendricks has a chapter in forthcoming edited collection The rise of global Islamophobia in the War on Terror, due to be published in September 2022. Natheem’s chapter is titled ‘Think-tanks and the news media’s contribution in the construction of Islamophobia in South Africa’.

Look out for other blogs in our Ramadan 2022 series on the MUP website.

Newsletter Sign Up

Manchester University Press

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout