Muslims In Britain Set To Adapt New Ways For Ramadan
Coronavirus has no doubt affected places of worship across Britain. Mosques maybe closed but the committee members of many of the local Mosques are all set to ensure Muslims in our region are not forgotten.
A personal reflection by Yesmien Bagh Ali.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim Calendar. It is the month when Quran, the Holy book was revealed to Mohammed (pbuh).
Islam uses a calendar based on the cycles of the moon. Dates change every year. This year in 2020 Ramadan will begin in the evening of Thursday 23rd April and will end on Saturday 23rd May.
Most Muslims will be fasting during the month of Ramadan. It’s 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.
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.
Ramadan reminds you to think of the suffering of the poor and this year like many people, Muslims will be thinking about all the suffering and heartbreak Coronavirus has brought across the globe. They will also be praying for all and thanking each and everyone who is helping, giving their time and money to vulnerable people.
In Ramadan all Muslims give Zakat (money to the poor) to charities.
Local Muslims have already been very humbly giving their support during these extraordinary times, whether it is providing food for the NHS and support workers, giving money to a struggling family, knitting hearts or picking up a prescription for a vulnerable person or someone self isolating.
Mosques will be encouraging those that can to think about where and who they can give their Zakat to this year.
During Ramadan Muslims have two important meals:
Suhoor, which is just before sunrise and
Iftar directly after sunset.
I remember as a child my mother would wake up early to cook a big breakfast with my father helping her. He would come and wake us up once he had set the food on the table.
During Ramadan, like many Muslim households, breakfast was different, it wasn’t just a bowl of cereal or toast. We had Parantas, pickles, glass of milk, tea, juices and lots of natural yogurt and fruits. You would try and make sure you had a bit of everything as you knew it would be a long day without food and any form of drink.
Parantas with home made achaar (mixed pickle) and spicy omelette
As a child my siblings and I enjoyed supporting the community by going out in the dark before sunrise and checking which Muslim households hadn’t switched their lights on and who may have slept in and needed waking up.
Something that was extremely important to us all, even as children, we would make sure we did read the Quran.
Many Muslims try to recite the whole Quran during Ramadan.
The special late evening prayer, which would usually be held in the Mosque, is where families would look forward to listening to the Imam recite the Quran. This will no doubt be emotionally and spiritually very difficult for many Muslims this Ramadan.
Mosques are trying their best to work with the government guidelines by ensuring their local Muslim families are safe and still have the opportunity to listen to the Imams reciting and taking part in the prayers. Also providing links for children’s learning and workshops, whether it is through radios provided to families in their homes or using zoom.
The Imam at the local Mosque in Craven recites the Adhan (call to prayer) five times a day from a two way radio from his home and after each call the Imam reminds the families of the importance of staying safe and reading the prayers in their homes.
Committee members will be emphasizing to families that although they may want to be together with their loved ones, it is extremely important and irresponsible to congregate with people who are not members of their immediate household.
The desire to perform prayers in a congregation in a Mosque comes second to saving lives. Muslims will be reminded about how the Holy sites of Mecca and Medina are in curfew and just like many other faiths 1.8 billion Muslims are facing challenging times during the holy month of Ramadan.
I believe this Ramadan we will have many families working together in their kitchens, learning new skills, chopping, mixing and creating wonderful dishes for the Iftar, (the evening meal), bringing the aroma into our local streets.
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.
Also a vegetable pokora recipe which no doubt many Muslim households will prepare for the Iftar.
This article has been written by Yesmien - 'Yazi' from www.amaali.co.uk.
Yazi is a Yorkshire born Muslim business woman whose parents come from a small village in Azaad Kashmir. Today she uses her culinary skills by visiting schools and delivering creative workshops, featuring Arabic writing, storytelling, drama, Bollywood dancing and her popular Kashmiri food, helping to educate children about cultural diversity.
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