9th July 2013
From tomorrow*, British Muslims will join over a billion Muslims all over the world in a month of fasting, charity and solidarity.
The Muslim Council (MCB) extends its warmest wishes to all for a blessed, spiritual and peaceful Ramadan.
This year, Ramadan comes at a challenging time, both at home and abroad. Apart from the ongoing recession affecting the country as a whole there has been increased tension and Islamophobia. Many mosques and communities in the UK have faced increased attacks since the tragic events at Woolwich, though many of our non-Muslim friends have joined us in solidarity against such hate.
Elsewhere, many parts of the Muslim world are experiencing war, internal strife, oppression and uncertainty, particularly, in Syria, Burma and now Egypt. Ramadan provides the much needed opportunity for reflection and renewal of the purpose. We pray that this blessed month and the act of fasting helps us to connect to the spirit of Islam: truth, justice, compassion and humanity. We hope that Ramadan enables us to reach out to those who misunderstand and those who need our help.
Prayer and Patience
Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed, and many Muslims focus their time to develop the qualities of ‘God-consciousness’, compassion and discipline. Mosques around the country will be full of worshippers, particularly during (extra) night prayers. We urge that visitors to mosques take utmost care of their neighbours and the elderly by avoiding unnecessary noise, disturbance and traffic.
Reflection and Gratitude
As many Muslims abstain from food and drink for long hours, they are reminded of those around the world who cannot afford to feed themselves. The month teaches about the importance of patience and gratitude.
Generosity and Neighbourliness
Ramadan is a wonderful time to become active in reaching out through acts of charity and service. It is through selfless acts of devotion and giving in charity that one attains closeness to Allah. Charity begins at home so it is important that we remember those most at need here in the UK as well as abroad.
Many mosques will be opening their doors to the public and inviting in neighbours, regardless of faith, to join them in evening meals to break the fast. Many British Muslim charities will be raising record breaking amounts of money for good causes at home and abroad.
Muslims once again may start Ramadan on different days, depending on diverse opinions regarding moon-sighting. Regardless of when this blessed month begins, the MCB hopes that Ramadan will be a unique opportunity to foster unity and brotherhood among our communities across the country.
As Ramadan now falls in summer months, those fasting will have to do so for long hours, in excess of 18 hours this year. The Muslim Council has set out many practical guidelines on health and well-being during Ramadan. It is important that whilst Muslims observe the fast, health is not ignored. The Council has issued a ‘Ramadan Health Fact Sheet’ that has been circulated to chaplains across hospitals in the UK, as well as a guidance document on ‘Ramadan and Diabetes – A Guide for Patients’. The MCB will also be publishing a revised version of ‘What to consider when processing, preparing and serving food in the holy month of Ramadan’. Please visit www.mcb.org.uk for more information.
Notes to Editors:
1. *This year Ramadan is expected to either start on the 9th or 10th July. The start of Ramadan depends on the sighting of the moon. Different Muslim communities will start the month depending on their interpretation of moon sighting.
2. ‘Iftar’ is the time when Muslims break their fast at the time of sunset
3. The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body with over
500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques,
charities and schools.