AUSTIN (KXAN) — The holy month of Ramadan is officially underway, as Muslims from all over the world fast from dawn to dusk for an entire month.

In Austin, district nine council member Zohaib “Zo” Qadri — the first Muslim elected to Austin City Council — has been fasting for over two weeks.

“Fasting means no food intake, no water intake, I can’t even chew gum,” he said. “So, it’s absolutely nothingness for about 12-13 hours each day.”

While it’s been tough at times to abstain from food and drink during the daylight hours, the Pakistani American believes it’s all worth inspiring others.

“My hope is that my time in office shows the younger generations that this could be them too,” Qadri said.

Along with his daily duties as a local leader, Qadri prays five times a day.

He says this month is all about getting closer to God and reminding himself of the suffering of those less fortunate.

“I started fasting when I was 12 years old,” Qadri said. “It brings me closer to God, brings me closer to my family and friends.

The city council member believes his enthusiasm for serving his constituents pushes him past any exhaustion during Ramadan.

“I just truthfully get so much energy from being in the building at city hall,” he said. “I truly don’t feel the fast until I go home.”

Breaking barriers as one of the only Muslim local leaders in Austin, Qadri has high hopes for the future.

“Through the work that we’re doing in this office, our goal is to inspire the next generation of Muslim Austinites to hopefully one day run for office,” he concluded.

Ramadan will conclude in two weeks with Eid al-Fitr, a celebration when Muslims finish their fasting with a feast.

Qadri plans to present a proclamation about Eid al-Fitr during an upcoming Austin City Council meeting.