Ramadhan, the holy month for Muslims, will be starting on Thursday 23rd or Friday 24th April. Ramadhan is a month that Muslims all over the world look forward to. In the UK especially, over the years, members of other faiths have also joined in with fasting. Fasting involves abstaining from food and drink amongst other things from dawn until sunset. The break of the fast at sunset is an event that is greatly anticipated. Muslims join and partake in the sunset meal, which is called Iftaar. It often means large social gatherings. This year due to the covid-19 pandemic, this will not be possible.
Ramadhan is also a very spiritually uplifting month for Muslims, wherein one can experience community spirit, harmony and togetherness. Many Muslims will try to be more focused towards the improvement of their inner-self and characteristics whilst going about their day-to-day activities. Fasting embodies patience and steadfastness during trials and difficult times, which ties in with what many parts of the world are currently experiencing. We pray that God helps us through this pandemic and enables us to come out of it stronger, better and spiritually fortified. The thoughts and prayers of the whole community are with all those families who have loved ones suffering from Covid-19 or have lost loved ones during this pandemic.
From a more practical perspective, Ramdhan this year will feel very different. All congregational
prayers in Lincoln Central Mosque and Cultural Centre are currently suspended including the late evening Taraweeh prayer, wherein the recitation of the Muslim holy book, the Holy Quran, is generally completed. As mentioned, the Iftaar meal that the mosque has arranged over the years will also not be taking place. Volunteers within the Muslim community of Lincoln have kindly arranged a foodbank for anyone (Muslim and non-Muslim alike) who may be struggling. Details are on the website, and further information can be attained by emailing the mosque on firstname.lastname@example.org. As well as that, the monthly timetable for fasting hours and prayer times is also on the website. http://www.lincolncentralmosque.org.uk/prayertime/
The celebration of Eid, which takes place once the month of Ramadhan has concluded, may also feel extremely strange depending on the situation at the time. The mosque management will be providing updates on this as and when possible.
I also want to take this opportunity to mention the amazing things that we have witnessed since the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown in the UK. The generosity and spirit of people from all walks of life, regardless of faith, has been manifest in various ways from donations, door-to-door services, applause or even just a simple knock on a neighbour’s door to see how they are doing. Long may this spirit continue. Finally, I want to give a special mention to the huge sacrifices and amazing work being carried out by all who are involved with the NHS in whatever capacity it may be. God be with us all. Aameen.
Imam Atikur Rehman Patel, Muslim Chaplain