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Ramadan Kareem, Mubarak, Mabrook and other greetings

Hi All,

As you may know the month of Ramadan is upon us. For those of you that do not know Ramadan is a holy month in the Islamic calendar where muslims all around the world fast between dawn and sunset for around 29-30 days. There are many reasons why we fast such as:

  • It teaches us patience (as you cannot eat or drink anything, so you can imagine the patience it takes to not think about food and overcome your hunger pangs)
  • Reminds us how the less fortunate may not be able to eat or drink on a daily basis (so essentially humbling ourselves and being thankful for what we have)
  • Re-connects us with our spirituality (as you pray more and read the Quran)
  • Become more charitable (as we donate to charity within this month - as well as in other months too, but more emphasis is put within this month)
Being that the days are really long within the UK people often ask me 'don't you find it hard?', 'I don't think I could do that, how do you manage?' or tell me that the worst part is the not drinking anything (which in extreme heat can be difficult. I respond mainly that you adapt to it, which is true. You don't think about food and how thirsty you are as you remind yourself that you are doing something great. In fact many muslims look forward to Ramadan as its like a rest button. You forgo any sins that you may do on your day to day life and actually become calmer, more understanding and humble. Also many muslims start fasting at 10 years old and so get used to the annual occurrence of fasting. At the moment however the days are very long, and so it is up to the judgement of the parents whether or not they feel the child is ready to start fasting.

As difficult as fasting is there are exceptions. For instance you should not fast when pregnant (for obvious reasons) or have a long term health condition that requires frequent medication (unless you can change the regime around fasting without compromising your health). This safeguards anyone who would be at risk of fasting, as it should not affect  your health in a negative way. If however you choose to fast and your health declines as a result you must break the fast and seek help. I have had to personally break fasts for health reasons such as vomiting due to illness and fainting. We are reminded that fasting is supposed to be beneficial and not weigh down on ourselves if we break a fast or cannot due to health reasons. 

I have often had to inform friends and colleagues about why if fast and I always issue a challenge for them to try it out and see if they can manage. Feel free to try yourselves and see if you can do it. I promise you get a real sense of achievement when you get to the end of a long day and realise how much stress has been lifted from you. It is easier to do with friends, and if any of you who have muslim friends who are fasting, feel free to join them for a day and offer each other support. Also be inquisitive, ask questions and learn about how each person views fasting and what it means to them.

To all my LGBTQ brothers and sisters I wish you a prosperous Ramadan and I hope you remain healthy and able to perform fasting for the whole month.



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