THE HOLY month of Ramadan is considered a time of spiritual reflection, fasting and prayers.
Muslims across the globe abstain from eating or drinking between dawn and sundown during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
The first day of Ramadan begins on April, 13, 2021.
Fasting will begin at sunrise after suhur and then finish at sunset with iftar.
All Muslims who have reached puberty are expected to fast during Ramadan.
However, there are some exceptions such as women who are menstruating or pregnant and those suffering from illness.
Read our Ramadan live blog below for all of the latest news and updates…
WORKING FROM HOME DURING RAMADAN
The Muslim Council of Britain has also published a few tips for those working from home this Ramadan.
- Breaks – Ensure you are taking regular breaks from work, for rest and reflection – perhaps around salaah (prayer) times.
- Timings – If you are able, start your day earlier so that you can finish earlier and have some down time prior to iftar.
- Let others know – Give your employer and colleagues advance notice that you will be fasting.
- Share – Share Ramadan with colleagues by having a conversation or sharing what you’re doing for it e.g. volunteering, cooking different meals etc.
- Duties – Honour your workplace duties with patience and good grace to those around you.
- Break – Should you find yourself frustrated or tired, take a break.
RULES FOR CHILDREN DURING RAMADAN
Muslim children are expected to begin fasting once they have reached puberty, usually by the age of 14.
There is no national law that prevents young children or teens from fasting.
The NHS advises against children below the age of eight from participating in the fast.
Advice from the national health body reads: “It’s a good idea to make children aware of what fasting involves and to practice fasting for a few hours at a time.”
FASTING DURING RAMADAN
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are obliged to abstain from eating or drinking during daylight hours.
If a fast is broken, it will need to be compensated for by fasting at a later date.
Or they can pay “fidyah”, a religious term for donation of food or money.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, so all adult Muslims are expected to fast.
It is thought abstaining from these activities will lead to greater “taqwa”, or consciousness of God.
MOSQUES ARE OPEN
Places of worship have stayed open during the national lockdown, allowing people to attend mosques and other communal prayer facilities.
However, worshippers are required to comply with restrictions such as social distancing and not mixing with anyone outside of their household or support bubble.
This year, mosques will continue to adhere to the rules at a significantly reduced capacity than usual.
GUIDANCE DURING RAMADAN
The Muslim Council of Britain has released new guidance outlining how Muslims can practise their faith during the holy month while keeping safe from coronavirus.
The MCB recommends:
- Organising taraweeh at home as a family and pray in congregation.
- Streaming Islamic lectures or taraweeh in your home, either pre-recorded or live.
- Arranging virtual iftars with loved ones and community members through online video calling like Zoom.
- Planning your iftar menus in advance so that you can limit multiple shopping trips.
- Hydrating well for the long fasting days.
- Eating high energy, slow burn foods for suhoor (starting your fast).
- Remaining energised throughout the workday to combat heightened levels of anxiety during these times.
- Take regular breaks to reflect and take time for yourself.
- Take time to be good to yourself – “sometimes it is quality over quantity.”
‘BEST WAY TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND LOVED ONES’
Imam Yunus Dudhwala, Head of Chaplaincy Barts Health NHS Trust, agreed and said the vaccine is the “best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
“This Ramadan will continue to be different. The vast majority of scholars have deemed taking the vaccine whilst fasting as permissible and stated that it does not break the fast.
“The experts have stated that the COVID-19 vaccine is effective and the best way of protecting yourself and your loved ones.
“I ask my Muslim brothers and sisters to consider taking the vaccine when called.”
JAB DOES NOT BREAK FAST
NHS has stressed that getting the jab does not break the fast observed by Muslims during daylight hours over Ramadan.
Dr Farzana Hussain said: “Getting an injection does not break the fast as it’s not nutrition and so there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t have it if you are eligible and have been invited for your Covid-19 vaccine and those scheduled for their second dose, should take it.
“The Koran says saving your life is the most important thing: to save one life is to save the whole of humanity. It’s a responsibility of a practising Muslim to take their vaccine.”
MORRISONS RAMADAN FOOD BOXES
Morrisons has brought back the Ramadan food boxes in a bid to make it easier for customers.
The boxes costs £33 and are available online to order at the click of a button, and then Morrisons will deliver it to your home.
Each box includes 29 portions of halal chicken, chickpeas, yoghurt, naan bread, 2kg of gram flour and plenty of sauces and spices.
Customers will also receive a large bottle of fresh mango lassi and a gift box of dates.
The NHS has urged the public to stay safe during Ramadan, advising those with symptoms of coronavirus to abstain from fasting.
As with any person who experiences ill health or long term health conditions, there are a number of exemptions that are permitted by the faith during fasting.
For some, refraining from food and drink may weaken their immune system making them more vulnerable to sickness or worsening coronavirus symptoms.
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