23rd April 2020
RAMADAN BRIEFING PAPER
For Muslims across the world, this week, on Friday 24th April, sees the start of Ramadan, the sacred month of
fasting. A month that is welcomed by Muslims as a blessing and an opportunity to renew our faith, engage in more prayers, giving of charity and take part in many community- based events.
Sadly, this year because of the risk posed to our world by
the coronavirus, Ramadan will be like no other experienced by Muslims worldwide. Lockdowns, to protect society as a whole, are being imposed preventing people for going out as easily to prepare for the upcoming month. This includes shopping for foods, visiting relatives and attending mosques for daily prayers. Mosques and community centres are shut meaning there will be no congregational prayers held during the week, or on Friday, the sacred day of worship.
Community and family iftars and the late night evening prayers (tarawih) are all affected. It is also likely that given the current situation, the celebratory festival of Eid ul Fitr, that marks the end of Ramadan, will be impacted and the normal congregational Eid prayers, parties and family get togethers will not be taking place as normal.
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar meaning that it is a moveable festival, coming 10 days earlier every year. This also means that depending on the time of year, the fasts can be very long in the summer or very short in the winter. This year Ramadan starts on the 24th April will end 29 or 30 days later depending on the sighting of the new moon. Contrary to how some people
view Ramadan, it is not an exercise is seeing who can stay hungry and thirsty for 18+ hours a day. Ramadan has been described in the Quran in the following verses:
“O you who believe, fasting has been proscribed for you as it was proscribed for those who came before you so that you may become more pious” – (Quran 2:183)
“The month of Ramadan (is the month) in which the Quran has been sent down as guidance for mankind containing clear signs that lead (to the straight road) and distinguishing (the truth from falsehood)..” [Quran 2:185]
Fasting is a command to all Muslims, but this is not a blanket mandate as there are exceptions to the rule. For example, those who are ill, elderly, on medication, menstruating, pregnant, breast feeding and travelling are exempt. The fasting Muslim does not eat, drink (no, not even water!), smoke or engage in sexual activities between dawn and sunset. In the UK, this is approximately from 4.00am till 8.30pm (although by the last day it will be nearer 3.00am and 9.30pm as the days will be getting longer!). Ramadan allows us to renew our relationship with God, it allows to slow down and remind ourselves of the many blessings we have, it allows us to purely our souls by spending more time in prayer and supplications by reading the Quran. It is also a time of giving and sharing, showing generosity and kindness. This year more than ever Ramadan will be at a much slower pace, allowing us to spend more time in reflection and becoming more God-conscious. More than ever this year we will also need to show more patience, kindness and generosity as fasting in isolation will prove to be challenging for many people.
Things we can do to make this Ramadan easier
Just because the mosques are currently closed for collective worship, as per government guidelines, it does not mean that we cannot take part in wider ‘community’ events, as many mosques and imams are providing facilities online to support Muslims at this very special time. The following are just some examples of the variety of events taking place that anyone can join, regardless of location:
Leeds Makkah Masjid is providing the following services by
Imam Qari Asim and Imam Qari Qasim.
- Daily Islamic Reminder at
- Daily Recitation of the Quran at 2.15pm – a Juz of the Quran will be recited (Tilawat) every
- Every Friday Islamic Reflections at
As there are no Iftar events, they are urging everyone to donate some money to those in need, locally and abroad. Further details can be found at
The Karimia Institute in Nottingham with Dr. Musharraf Hussain has the following online schedule of events that everyone is welcome to access.
- Every Wednesday – 7:30 pm – Study Circle (Darse Quran)
- Every Friday – 1:00 pm – Friday Naseeha
- Every Friday – ‘Think Quran’ podcast new episode released https://www.majesticquran.co.uk/think-
Daily during Ramadan:
- LIVE Taraweeh – 10:00 pm – Listen to the recitation of the Quran along with a summary (whole Quran to be completed in the month)
- All these can be accessed from our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/karimiainstitute
The British Board of Scholars and Imams have also issued guidance for Ramadan during the Covid-19 pandemic that can be found in its entirety here http://www.bbsi.org.uk/
ramadan-in-the-era-of-covid-19/ The executive summary is available below.
It is important that if you have Muslim students and colleagues to understand the significance of the month of Ramadan and the added impact the coronavirus is having on Muslim communities this year. If you require any further information or advice please do contact me at Hifsa.Haroon-
Iqbal@Education.Gov.UK or alternatively by phone.
Mrs Hifsa Haroon-Iqbal MBE DL MPhil Regional Prevent Coordinator
Further & Higher Education (West Midlands)
Counter Extremism Division
Department for Education