Hi all! I’m Hamza, your Activities Inclusion Coordinator.
On behalf of the Students’ Union, I want to wish you a happy and blessed Ramadan and I hope we’re all keeping safe in the current circumstances.
As we are all aware, Ramadan runs from around 29-30 days. Muslims fast for the duration of the month from sunrise to sunset, however there are exceptions, people are who are ill or have medical conditions do not have to fast, and also the elderly and young are exempt from it too.
This year, Ramadan has unexpectedly fallen in the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, therefore it is incumbent on us to all observe Ramadan safely by adhering to Government’s social distancing policy as well as ensuring we all stay connected with ourselves and others.
Below are a few tips I would like to share with you all as well as giving you my thoughts and advice to Student Groups in approaching this year’s Ramadan.
Given the current situation and the concerns we all share in light of COVID-19, utilise this moment to spend some time for reflection. This is not to say that we should exhaust ourselves to constantly do better and improve, however we should observe this spiritual month by understanding our presence in this world and the relationship we have with God and others.
One way we can utilise this time given is reflecting on our relationship with Allah. For instance, try organise your day around Salah and spend your time wisely. Let Salah be a time to exercise your break and build that relationship.
In addition, let this be a reminder that whilst we all want to pray to establish a relationship with Allah, try not toexhaust yourself. Take breaks beyond your daily prayer and let your mind rest.
Studying/Working from home
Many Muslims will be working and/or studying from home during Ramadan. Whilst there may be benefits from working from home, it can still be challenging.
Though not an exhaustive list, below are a few tips you might want to follow whilst fasting:
- Rest and plan your day
Ensure that you honour yourself by taking regular breaks for reflection or around your salaah times.
You might want to adjust your current university timetable so studying is manageable and broken down in smaller chunks with regular breaks. Make sure take into account prayer times and iftar when planning your day.
- Share with others
Write blogs, articles or even just share your experiences with your friends and families during Ramadan. It is important that we continue to stay connected with each other, even if it is virtually. Consider planning your iftars with each other using video calls and FaceTime.
If you’re working, speak to your manager if you’re able to start the day early so you can finish earlier to have some down time prior to iftar.
- Set some reachable goals
Continue to reach set goals or targets, however ensure they’re reachable and are broken down into smaller steps. For instance, if you have an exam to prepare for, spreading your reading out into small sections.
Home and Virtual Iftars
Whilst the majority of us look forward to community gatherings during Iftar, visiting mosques and staying physically connected with others, it is important that we continue to adhere to follow UK Government guidance to protect our communities and ensure everyone stays safe.
One ways we can continue to interact with friends and families is to host virtual iftars. This could be done via FaceTime, WhatsApp video call or even Zoom. Muslim Council of Britain have created an eco-iftar series, every Thursday during Ramadan. This series will explore eco-friendly living and imagining a sustainable future.
In addition, avoid mass shopping trips so that we’re not creating crowded spaces during the pandemic. Furthermore, please avoid hoarding supplies so that everyone is able to access foods during this time.
How Student Groups can support Muslim members.
If you’re in a Student Group and are planning to host a virtual activity or an event, ensure that you have the conversation with fellow Muslim members on how they can cater towards them in light of Ramadan. It is important that these conversation are to be held as early as possible to ensure that appropriate adjustments are to be put in place.
Reach out to your fellow Muslim society members, it is important that you provide them with the platform and resources to promote conversation during Ramadan and how to work through this current situation collectively. For instance, I would encourage you to speak to our Islamic Society and see how you can support them.
Understand the importance of language. Whilst we understand that many of us are curious in understanding Ramadan, it is important we refrain from slights or insensitive questions.
For instance, if you notice your friend not fasting, avoid publically ask why and do not apologise for eating or drinking in front of someone wo is observing Ramadan as it often makes the situation awkward.
However, do not be afraid to ask questions. Muslims welcome questions from colleagues and friends, having that open conversation will help everyone best understand how to support each other.
If you have not done so already, please follow our Leicester Union and Union Activities Instagram page where we will be sharing tips and advice for all Muslim students.
Your staff and executive team will continue to work tirelessly to support you so please don’t hesitate to contact us via our emails.
Finally, let this be a reminder to be compassionate and care for one another, and to stay connected with ourselves and our relationship with Allah.
I wish you all Ramadan Mubarak!