The long, hot days of summer can be extremely challenging when you're going without food and water, as many are now doing for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

It's a time when healthy and able Muslims are required to fast from dawn to sunset.

"It's hard, the first day is always the hardest," said Hussain Guisti, general manager of the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation, a Manitoba-based Islamic charity.

"I saw McDonald's and I said, 'Look at that, look at that ice cream there.'"

For Idris Knapp at the Winnipeg Central Mosque, the month is about much more than fasting. It's a chance for a spiritual recharge.

"So that we can learn discipline and also learn self-control … so that we can learn and feel compassion for those individuals who won't have anything to break their fast," Knapp said.