Ramadan is celebrated by Muslim's the world over. This year, it began 12th/13th April and ends 12/13th May (depending on moon sightings). It is one of the most holy months in the Islamic lunar calendar.
During Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight hours from food, drink, and sexual activity. They will also increase spiritual devotional acts such as prayer, giving to charity, and strengthening family and community ties. Muslims are encouraged to share food when they break fast at sunset (iftar) with those in the community who may be celebrating alone.
Ramadan means a lot to me. It is an important tradition.
Ramadan this year will involve different approaches, though is not as restricted as Ramadan 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting people being able to gather indoors or go to the mosque in the same way they used to.
The Muslim Council of Britain has created a comprehensive document advising British Muslims how they can celebrate Ramadan safely this year. It includes advice about meeting safely, attending the mosque, having an eco-conscious Ramadan, studying and working, and Ramadan and the COVID vaccine.
It includes the following helpful advice for Muslim students during Ramadan:
Let others know – Give your university, student advisor or professors advance notice that you will be fasting.
Breaks – Ensure you are taking regular breaks from studying, for rest and reflection – perhaps around salaah times.
Timetable – Set yourself a study timetable. Lectures always help structure your day even when scheduled online, but make sure you take into account prayer times and iftar when planning your day.
Timings – If you are able, start your day earlier so that you can finish earlier and have some down time prior to iftar.
Share – Share Ramadan with classmates and friends by having a conversation about Ramadan, your struggles or sharing what special activities you’re doing or foods you may be cooking/etc.
Duties – Honour your studies and commitments with patience and good grace to those around you.
Ramadan for young people in our services
In one of our accommodation services, staff had a house meeting last week and asked the two young people staying in the placement how they were finding Ramadan. Both are Sudanese and are cooking together and then after sundown will eat together.
Working with the young people to support them at this time, staff agreed with them to cook their food a bit earlier in the day and then use the microwave to heat it after sundown for fire safety reasons. The young people have been great and considerate of staff sleeping when they break their fast and enjoy eating together.
Young people are being invited to share across our services, in classes and house meetings, about Ramadan. Staff are also inviting them to contribute to guides and training for staff that will help them support young people observing Ramadan.
what Ramadan means to me
A couple of young people shared what Ramadan means to them and we hope to be able to share more from our young people in the coming weeks about their Ramadan experience in 2021.
"In Sudan, we start fasting age 15. I did it for 10 days the first time last year, this year I intend to do the whole fast and so far, I have not broken the fast."
"Ramadan means a lot to me. It is an important tradition. Ramadan is being observed for one month, also in England. It is a good month for me as I am able to do the practice here, in the UK. I am thankful for that."
For all those celebrating Ramadan in our asphaleia community, we wish you a blessed month.