Imagine not eating or drinking anything from dawn until dusk each day for a month, with no break. Now, imagine doing that as a doctor working long shifts, handling dozens of daily patients who sometimes need intensive medical interventions.

This is exactly what Dr. Ghulam Abbas Kharal did this summer.

Kharal, a neurology resident at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, observed Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, which ended this week and is obligatory for all Muslims.

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Kharal had to wake up at 3 a.m. some days to get in a meal before the fast, and worked 12- to 14-hour shifts with no sustenance. He even had some days when he was on call 24 hours straight at the hospital.

Kharal says being with sick patients, especially during Ramadan, fulfills not only his medical duties but his religious obligations as well.

“Fasting every day gives me strength, it challenges me, but each day it makes me stronger, a better person. It makes me become closer to my Lord and to the humanity that I surround,” he said.

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