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Here Is How Muslim Vegans Got Through Ramadan

Muslims on social media have been connecting via #VeganRamadan.

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Updated on

Meet Halima Hassan, a 21-year-old student from Columbus, Ohio, who said she's behind #VeganRamadan.

I'm the black Muslim hijabi behind #VeganRamadan always advocating for a healthier lifestyle #blackhijabichallenge… https://t.co/0uoVvotZ2m

Though the hashtag was first used in 2012, it didn't become popular until this Ramadan.

As it's Hassan's first vegan Ramadan, she documented her meals on social media, which has since drawn more attention to #VeganRamadan.

Hassan told BuzzFeed News she first tried being vegan around two years ago but it only lasted for six months.

She said she had to adjust and change the way she ate and try to eat healthier.

Hassan said she found being vegan to be more energising. "I wanted to be vegan because I ate plant-based [food] but I felt like it wasn't enough because I felt fatigue still.

"But going completely vegan gave me more energy and the drive to be productive throughout my day."

She has been sharing all her iftars and suhoors to social media – her favourite foods have been taco and pasta dishes.

Instagram: @xalimoos

Hassan said being vegan during Ramadan was interesting. "I was very used to stuffing my face with sambuus [samosas] after eating dates," she said

"I'm truly overjoyed that people would even notice because I know veganism is viewed as restriction. But with me posting it showed that there's more to veganism than the typical salads.

"I liked to re-create foods I enjoyed the most, aka tacos and pasta dishes, so I can capture how food can still be delicious and be considered a 'real meal'."

Though she did get some negative comments, Hassan said people were mainly positive: "People love it, which surprised me because I know Somalis love meat.

"People left nice comments and would send me messages on how they felt inspired to even reduce little things like soda or fried-food intake during Ramadan."

And on that same hashtag, Farah Mujawar found a Muslim vegan community.

Mujawar said that while using the hashtag she came across other Muslims who are vegan, and they've created a little community that has a WhatsApp group chat. She joined Instagram to connect with other vegans, she said, and she found many other Muslims. She has now been vegan for two months, so this was her first Ramadan as a vegan.Mujawar said that after watching the documentaries Forks Over Knives and Cowspiracy she started looking into veganism and found there to be benefits.
Farah Mujawir

Mujawar said that while using the hashtag she came across other Muslims who are vegan, and they've created a little community that has a WhatsApp group chat.

She joined Instagram to connect with other vegans, she said, and she found

many other Muslims. She has now been vegan for two months, so this was her first Ramadan as a vegan.

Mujawar said that after watching the documentaries Forks Over Knives and Cowspiracy she started looking into veganism and found there to be benefits.

Like Hassan, Mujawar found she had more energy when fasting.

She said Ramadan was easier this time than in previous years: "One of the hardest things about breaking your fast is the temptation to overeat and feel extremely full and then have a tough time concentrating on your prayers.

"This Ramadan, after the first few days, when I broke my fast I didn't feel overwhelmingly full and bloated. I was content and my body could keep up with my prayers, especially Taraweeh. I wasn't exhausted waking up for sehri either."

Nadia Javed, from London, is a singer and guitarist for the Tuts, and she has been vegan for three years now.

Javed said: "I've not eaten meat (chicken, lamb, duck etc) for over three years now. Although the other day at work I accidentally ate a duck spring roll and nearly gagged when I found out. I literally wanted to make myself sick but I decided to accept it and move on."Javed said a lot of her friends became vegan and that her dislike for meat comes from her views against animal cruelty. "If people saw the horrendous conditions animals were kept in I think most people would stop eating meat," she said."I'm not gonna sit here and pretend I don't miss KFC. Damn right I want crispy-fried chicken but is it really worth eating a diseased chicken who has probably been fed antibiotics prior to being battered and fried?"
Cady Siregar

Javed said: "I've not eaten meat (chicken, lamb, duck etc) for over three years now. Although the other day at work I accidentally ate a duck spring roll and nearly gagged when I found out. I literally wanted to make myself sick but I decided to accept it and move on."

Javed said a lot of her friends became vegan and that her dislike for meat comes from her views against animal cruelty.

"If people saw the horrendous conditions animals were kept in I think most people would stop eating meat," she said.

"I'm not gonna sit here and pretend I don't miss KFC. Damn right I want crispy-fried chicken but is it really worth eating a diseased chicken who has probably been fed antibiotics prior to being battered and fried?"

She said she has been having more vegan treats than ever before.

"Because I don't get to eat all day I'll make conscious decision to treat myself to the nicest vegan cuisine out there," she saidHer non-vegan friends are being supportive: "Last night I went to Loving Hut in Archway, [and] even my non-vegan friend came just to be supportive of my fast. So my vegan Ramadan is having a positive influence on my friend. She thought the chicken balls were banging."
Nadia Javed

"Because I don't get to eat all day I'll make conscious decision to treat myself to the nicest vegan cuisine out there," she said

Her non-vegan friends are being supportive: "Last night I went to Loving Hut in Archway, [and] even my non-vegan friend came just to be supportive of my fast. So my vegan Ramadan is having a positive influence on my friend. She thought the chicken balls were banging."

Ikran is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Ikran Dahir at ikran.dahir@buzzfeed.com.

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