Ramadan 2021: 15 global celebrities who observe the holy month

From Mahershala Ali to Halima Aden and the Hadid family, here are the famous faces who will likely mark Ramadan this year

The holy month is almost upon us. It's a time when Muslims around the world will observe a month of fasting in keeping with the Quran's divine commandment.

Among those abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours are also several famous faces, who are believed to observe Ramadan as part of their faith.

15 celebrities who observe Ramadan: 

  1. DJ Khaled
  2. Halima Aden
  3. Riz Ahmed
  4. Jermaine Jackson
  5. Mahershala Ali
  6. Zayn Malik
  7. Huda Kattan
  8. Yusuf Islam
  9. Iman Abdulmajid
  10. Mohamed Hadid
  11. Bella Hadid
  12. Ramy Youssef
  13. Lupe Fiasco
  14. SZA
  15. Shanina Shaik

What the stars have said about the holy month:

DJ Khaled 

Mandatory Credit: Photo by imageSPACE/SilverHub/REX/Shutterstock (9686653ff)
DJ Khaled
Billboard Music Awards, Arrivals, Las Vegas, USA - 20 May 2018

American musician DJ Khaled was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Palestinian parents, and he has always been vocal about his faith.

Speaking to GQ Middle East about fasting during Ramadan, he said: "I'll be honest with you, many Ramadan times, I'll fast, and then I get dehydrated and have to go to the hospital. Just because I work so hard. I try my hardest to fulfil the beliefs and how beautiful what we fast for is. It's so beautiful, what we're doing it for."

He also spoke to the magazine about returning to Palestine.

“I’m a Palestinian-American. It might be different for some people seeing it from the outside. The same way you love to go on vacation somewhere – like an island – Palestine is so, so beautiful. I know I keep using the world ‘holy’ a lot, but it’s so holy out there,” he said during the 2019 interview.

“Everybody has a different version of the Bible or the Quran, but it all goes back to the holy land. You can watch a movie all you want – but that’s it. You see it, you feel it, it’s in the air. I wave the flag. I am born Palestinian. I don’t know nothing else. I love it.”

Halima Aden

The Somali-American model, who has worked with labels including Max Mara and Alberta Ferretti and fronted the cover of magazines such as Allure, first rose to fame in 2016 after wearing traditional Muslim dress to compete in a US beauty pageant. Aden, 23, regularly shares anecdotes from the holy month on her Twitter account, and has previously revealed she also sleeps a lot when she's fasting.

Last year, she spoke to British Vogue about Ramadan during lockdown.

"Because most days, I have not been working at the pace I normally do, I haven’t found fasting to be as difficult this year," said. "In fact, being home, I’ve really been able to focus on the practice and take the time to appreciate the meaning. When I’m travelling, I always eat out at restaurants, so because I don’t really cook or know how to, that makes skipping meals easier, too."

Riz Ahmed

FILE PHOTO: Actor Riz Ahmed arrives for the Time 100 Gala in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S. April 25, 2017. Picture taken April 25, 2017.  REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

Last year, British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed took part in an online campaign to encourage Muslims in the UK to stay home, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Back in 2013, he tweeted a question about fasting during European summer daylight hours, asking: "Did early Muslims foresee there'd be [people] fasting in UK and Denmark? Would they advise to fast 20 hours? Should we just fast Makkah hours?"

Jermaine Jackson

The singer and former member of The Jackson 5 converted to Islam in 1989 after a trip to Bahrain. He has previously spoken about the importance of fasting to his faith, telling The National in 2013 it is crucial for him to "fulfil my obligations in Islam and [accept] God in my heart".

"It is also the most important time because we sacrifice some of our day-to-day things and think about those that are less fortunate," he added, while talking about Ramadan. "We fast but we also eat at iftar every day while other people don't have that luxury. So you think about those that don't have it easy – and by reflecting on that and giving charity, it brings you closer to God."

Mahershala Ali

TOPSHOT - Best Supporting Actor winner for "Green Book" Mahershala Ali  poses in the press room with his Oscar during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California on February 24, 2019.  / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN

The Oscar-winning Green Book actor, 47, hasn't stated on the record that he observes Ramadan, but Ali has spoken numerous times about his faith.

"My mother is an ordained minister, I’m a Muslim – she didn’t do backflips when I called her to tell her I’d converted 17 years ago, but I tell you now you put things to the side and I am able to see her she is able to see me, we love each other, the love has grown and [the other stuff] is minutiae," Ali said at the 2017 Sag Awards.

Zayn Malik 

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17:  Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik attend the Versus Versace show during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer collections 2016/2017 on September 17, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Darren Gerrish/WireImage)

Former One Direction star Zayn Malik, 28, has not spoken about his own experience fasting during Ramadan, but he does share a "Ramadan Mubarak" message on social media at the beginning of each holy month.

According to his mother, Tricia Brannan Malik, he has "has read the Quran three times". This will be Malik's first Ramadan as a father, after welcoming baby girl Khai with part-Palestinian model Gigi Hadid in September.

Huda Kattan

During Ramadan 2020, Dubai beauty mogul Huda Kattan took part in Instagram's #MonthOfGood campaign, an initiative that aimed to amplify messages of positivity and togetherness during the holy month.

"My family is the most important thing to me. We do everything together, but during Ramadan we really take the time to slow down and dedicate more time to appreciating one another," the Huda Beauty founder wrote. ⁣ ⁣

"One of the main things that me and my family are dedicating our time to this #MonthOfGood is providing food for families who need it. This is something that our family focuses on every Ramadan, and it’s really eye-opening. We sometimes take some of the most basic things in life, like food, for granted."

Kattan nominated her sister Mona Kattan, Halima Aden and Malala Yousafzai to share their positive messages.

Yusuf Islam

Yusof Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, performs at the national remembrance service for victims of the mosque attacks, at Hagley Park in Christchurch, New Zealand March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The musician, formerly known as Cat Stevens, formally converted to Islam in 1977, and has previously told The National that the holy month is a time to "remember how valuable charity and the inner aspects of the fast are".

"Fasting and staying away from food and drink is a choice we make, but while so many are suffering the pains of hunger and war, Ramadan is the best time to sympathise and give what we can to help awaken our humanity," the Father & Son singer added.

Iman Abdulmajid 

The Somali-born supermodel, who is the widow of British music legend David Bowie, doesn't share much about her experience during Ramadan, but regularly tweets out her well wishes to fellow Muslims during the holy month and at Eid.

Mohamed Hadid

The real-estate mogul – and father of models Gigi, Bella and Anwar – revealed in a 2010 interview with Modern Luxury that while he doesn't consider himself a "devout" Muslim, he does fast during Ramadan. Hadid, who has Jordanian and American citizenship, has Palestinian heritage, which his children have frequently stated they are proud to share.

Bella Hadid

Supermodel Bella Hadid has spoken about learning about Islam from her father, Mohamed Hadid. It is not known if she fasts during Ramadan, though she has revealed she did observe the holy month as a child.

"That was the best day of my life, when I went and saw the [Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque] in Abu Dhabi," she told Harper's Bazaar in November.

Adding of her father: "He would teach us about it and we would go and do Eid with my family and we would do Ramadan – I did that since I was a kid. Once I got older, I was working and going to school so I couldn’t fast for as long. My dad, he’s so passionate about it, and that’s what kept me very passionate and excited about my roots."

Ramy Youssef

The Egyptian-American comedian, who stars in Hulu series Ramy, which he co-created, drew on his own experiences of Ramadan for the show. The comedy follows a young man attempting to navigate being a modern, practising Muslim in a millennial generation in New Jersey, with the eponymous character breaking his fast at an all-night diner.

Lupe Fiasco

The American rapper and music producer revealed on Twitter in 2014 that Islam "plays a part in my life and everything I do, to a certain extent". A year later, the Battle Scars star teamed up with LSNP clothing to create a range of T-shirts that honoured Ramadan, and in 2012 he distributed meals in Chicago to those in need every day throughout the holy month.

SZA

The singer and songwriter, born Solana Imani Rowe, revealed in Interview magazine in 2013 that she grew up practising Islam, telling the publication: "During Ramadan, I fasted with my dad." The All the Stars artist, who has shared "Ramadan Kareem" messages with fans on her social media pages, also reportedly damaged her vocal cords from trying to sing while fasting in 2018, according to Nashville radio station The Beat.

Shanina Shaik

Melbourne-born supermodel Shanina Shaik was raised Muslim by her Saudi-Pakistani father; her mother is Lithuanian-Australian.

Last year she posted a "Ramadan Kareem" message on her Instagram and says of her father: "My father is very open to my job and understanding and he is grateful for the woman I have become."

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