Ramadan Again In Lockdown
Over the last year the coronavirus pandemic has once again affected places of worship across Britain. For Muslims around the world the month of Ramadan has arrived for the second time during lockdown, but many families are relieved that there is some easing of the restrictions.
During the current situation we have all seen how important it is to unite, no matter what faith you may or may not follow. Together we are making sense of these unprecedented times.
What is it?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim Calendar. It is the month when Quran, the Holy book was revealed to Mohammed (pbuh).
phases of the moon
Islam uses a calendar based on the cycles of the moon so the dates change every year.
This year in 2021 Ramadan will begin in the evening of Tuesday 13th April
when the new moon will appear in the sky and will end on Wednesday 12th May 2021
with a big celebration called 'Eid al-Fitr', meaning 'Festival of Breaking the Fast'.
During Ramadan most Muslims will be fasting, that is not eating or drinking during the hours of daylight. It is a time of togetherness and spiritual congregations, with family traditions and rituals. However, children, pregnant women, elderly people and those who are ill or travelling don't have to fast.
Fasting allows Muslims to devote themselves to their faith, even those that don’t classify themselves as observant Muslims will become drawn to Ramadan, as it brings the emotion that you had as a child, togetherness and oneness. It is a time for reflection, contemplation and celebration.
During Ramadan Muslims have two important meals:
Suhoor, which is just before sunrise and
Iftar directly after sunset
An Iftar meal
I was visiting my mother recently and as I wandered around the streets where I grew up, the aroma of meat being cooked and various food preparation was present, reminding me that a peaceful and joyful month is near.
I heard families talking about their shopping lists and what they had yet to prepare. The presence of a community as a big family is satisfying to see. Community members are now posting messages and upcoming activities via zoom platforms for families to continue their rituals.
The smells in the street took me back to my childhood. I remembered how I helped my parents and woke up early to prepare for the fast. It is a pleasure to see today too, the young youth are supporting their older family members with the preparation, whether it is peeling potatoes, filling samosas or purchasing dates for the month ahead.
A charitable month
The month of Ramadan is a charitable month, filled with prayers of forgiveness and hope. During this time it makes you think about the suffering of the poor and especially this year the suffering and heartbreak the coronavirus has brought across the globe.
During Ramadan all Muslims give Zakat (money to the poor) to charities. Mosques will again be encouraging those that can to think about where and who they can give their Zakat to this year.
I must say during the current lockdown I have felt something was different from last year, the breeze most definitely had a presence of hope.
Wishing everyone a blessed Ramadan.
Here is a recipe for Parantas that my mum used to cook as part of the Suhoor meal. I love these with some achaar (mixed pickle) and a cup of chai.
A vegetable pokora recipe which no doubt many Muslim households will prepare for the Iftar.
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