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Ramadan starts this evening

Ramadan is one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar, and is a period of fasting, extra prayer and charitable deeds.

Ramadan takes place in the ninth month in the Islamic calendar.  This is because that’s when the holy book that’s followed by Muslims, called the Qur’an, was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.  Because the Muslim calendar is based on the moon, the date of Ramadan changes each year.  It lasts for one complete moon cycle, which is usually 29 or 30 days.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims will fast from dawn to sunset – breaking the fast with two meals.  The first meal (the suhoor) is taken in the early hours of the morning before the sun rises and the second (iftar) is taken late at night as the sun sets.  Usually families and friends gather together for iftar, but Coronavirus lockdown rules won’t permit this.

The Muslim Council of Britain have set out the following guidelines for these current strange times:

“The message for this Ramadan is clear: fast and pray at home and share Ramadan digitally.  This is the way to worship Allah and save lives.

Away from mosques and loved ones, there is no doubt that Ramadan 2020 will look very different.  But there are ways we can still engage with our communities socially and spiritually and make the most of this blessed month.

We have already seen incredible work in Muslim communities in response to the pandemic.  Community initiatives have sprung up to help the vulnerable and mosques are using the power of the internet to serve the religious and spiritual needs of community.  Ramadan is the best time to continue this valuable work in supporting the people around us, regardless of faith or colour.

Ramadan is about connecting to God through worship, reflection compassion, and giving back to others.  It is important to use this time to reconsider the way we live our lives and the way we relate to Allah, our communities and those in need.  We must be sure to celebrate Ramadan in the safest way possible: in our homes.”

Fasting during Ramadan includes abstaining from both food and drink, as well as smoking.  It is seen as important because it allows Muslims to devote themselves to their faith and come closer to Allah, or God.  However, some people are allowed not to fast during Ramadan – children, pregnant women, the elderly and those who are ill or who are travelling don’t have to fast.

Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which form the basis of how Muslims live their lives.  The other pillars are faith, prayer, charity and making the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

As well as fasting, Ramadan is also a time for spiritual reflection, prayer, doing good deeds and, under normal circumstances, spending time with extended family and friends.

The full guidance about Ramadan 2020 can be found here

The end of Ramadan is marked by a special three-day festival called Eid al-Fitr – the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.  In the UK, Eid al-Fitr 2020 starts on the evening of Saturday 23 May.

 

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Mary Vickers
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Mary Vickers moved to North East Lincolnshire in 2010, from the Wiltshire/Hampshire border, to become Urban and Industrial Chaplain NELincs. Made redundant in 2017, she's maintained many of her connections within the business, faith, and other local communities. She's also decided to stay here rather than return to either the south or her husband's native Yorkshire, so that she can continue to enjoy and help promote the positives of NELincs.