[Written by Uzma]
Ramadan, known as the month of fasting, is considered the most important month in the Islamic calendar. This is when Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset (at the moment, that’s from around 4.00am until 8.00pm) - this means that they cannot eat, drink or indulge in any bad habits during this time like lying, swearing etc.
This year, Ramadan started on 23rd April. You might be wondering why Ramadan is always at a different time. This is because the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle which is why they shift by around 10 days each year and end with the celebration of Eid. Eid this year will be on the 23rd or 24th of May depending on the moon sighting.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the 5 pillars of Islam and teaches us self-control, reflection and also gives us an appreciation for those less well off who cannot afford even the basic necessities like food. This is also usually the time when most Muslims give of charity, also known as Zakah, which is another pillar of Islam (2.5% of their annual wealth in charity) as the reward for any good deed is 70 times more in the month of Ramdan.
Ramadan for me has always been the month when the spirit of community is at its highest. This is when we give as much charity as we are able to, we pray together, break our fasts together during Iftar and have a pre-dawn meal (suhoor) together.
However, this year to stay safe, we can’t have iftar with friends and relatives or pray taraweeh (a special prayer during Ramadan) at the mosque with the community. The experience for many Muslims around the world would be very different and difficult with the current situation but that shouldn't stop us from still spreading positive energy. This Ramadan we can continue to support the community by helping those who are vulnerable in our neighbourhood. We can all come together as a community and lift our spirits and pray for the wellbeing of everyone, especially our heroes around the world who are fighting on the frontlines to protect us from COVID-19.
Be considerate of your colleagues if they may be fasting - don't book early morning meetings, let them have a lie in
No lunch doesn't mean you don't need time away from the screen - if you are fasting, take care of yourself by taking regular breaks and if you know a colleague who is, support them to continue having well-needed breaks which are more important than ever when working at home
If you are observing Ramadan, make sure you stay hydrated from sunset to sunrise - try eating healthy meals and as amazing as they are, keep those oily snacks to a minimum!
If you are observing Ramadan and have tips for others, comment below.
There are also other things that we all can do to support people around the world such as donating where the need is greatest, volunteering to support our community and just simply connecting with people to make sure that we are all okay during these difficult times.
Sacrifice is one of the most important elements in Ramadan and this year we all need to continue to play our part. So stay at home for yourself and the community.