Next month, many of our staff and clients will be observing Ramadan. Our colleague Taz Uddin works as a Caseworker on our London-based SOS Project helping young people involved in or at risk of child criminal exploitation. In this blog, he explains the meaning of Ramadan and how it can be a source of both comfort and challenge for some of our clients and staff.
When is Ramadan?
The beginning of Ramadan is predicted to begin on the 2nd of April 2022 and end on the 1st May 2022.
What is the main purpose of Ramadan?
Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection and self-improvement Muslims will refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours in order to focus more on their faith and try to avoid being distracted by worldly activities. A time to reflect and ponder on your goals and to become more charitable and give back to society. It is a time where Muslims spend quality time with their families and think about how best to serve society. It is a time to be grateful for what you do have and to remember the struggles of all those around us who have little or nothing so we can understand their struggles and learn how we can support them better.
Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan?
Fasting is important during Ramadan as it allows Muslims to get closer to their faith and learn patience and compassion it is about nourishing your soul rather than only focusing on your physical body it is also one of the five pillars of Islam which are the foundation of how Muslims live their lives. Fasting is usually done by all Muslims except those who are sick, pregnant, elderly or travelling children are also exempt. Fasting is done between sunrise and sunset during this time Muslims are not allowed to drink or eat until sunset. At the end of Ramadan a special three day festival called Eid ul fitr the festival of breaking the fast marks the end of Ramadan. During these days Muslims attend prayers in the morning and visit loved ones and neighbours throughout the day and enjoy delicious traditional feasts and children are often given presents and it is also custom to donate to those in need.
As a charity we aim to support our clients and understanding them will aid us in being able to help them better. We should remember although Ramadan is a joyous occasion for Muslims many of our clients may be dreading it due to past negative experiences, bereavement bullying or poverty. Not even being able to afford a nourishing meal is a concern for many of our clients.
Anything we can do to support our clients such as speaking to them and giving our support and encouragement to them would be beneficial. Asking them if they have enough food and referring them to food banks would be a great help. Contacting their local mosques and asking if they have any support plans for worshippers would be amazing. Even being conscious that Muslims may be a little tired and may need an adjustment period is important also.
The London Muslim Centre will be providing free Itar meals (food to break fast with) everyday and they also have a food bank if you email them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Brixton Islamic Cultural Centre, London Central Mosque and Finchley Masjid are another few places that will provide food to break the fast with.
Taz Uddin, SOS Caseworker