Understanding Ramadan

Understanding Ramadan

Our customers come from varied, diverse communities. Millions across the UK will be marking the important Muslim festival of Ramadan from early May and people celebrate it in different ways.

We have gathered thoughts from a few members of Post Office, about what Ramadan is and what it means to them.

Ramadan blog. A time to reflect…….

“I’m usually overindulging 11 months of the year, breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner & more snacks… Seldom do I ever sit and wonder where my next meal is coming from. I was on a humanitarian mission a couple of years ago, it was during the plight of Rohingya. Over 700,000 men, women & children were forcefully displaced overnight and became refugees.

When I visited the refugee camps and entered homes made out of mud with no running water, toilet or kitchen and observed the conditions in which babies, children, adults and elderly were living in, it really put life into perspective. I observed two young toddlers fighting for scraps of food… it was only then some 38 years later I truly understood Ramadan.

The spiritual purpose of fasting is the surrender, the submission to a higher authority, which is God. Not eating is central because, as human beings, how many times do we aim our hands towards our mouth? Many. It's the physical body we are feeding all day, but by abstaining from eating we are paying attention to the pains of hunger and thirst, and that makes you aware of those who don't get to break their fast because they're hungry all the time. It makes us grateful for what we have.

Since my visit to the camps I look forward to Ramadan and the many benefits it brings to my mind, body and soul. Fasting some 18 hours a day refraining from water and food is insignificant in comparison to those who have no idea where their next meal is coming from. Over the years fasting has taught me discipline, self-control and the ability to appreciate some of the daily struggles we Brits take for granted.

On a cheerful note, Ramadan also helps me cleanse my body of all the junk food I consume throughout the year, I always feel healthier after the 30 day cycle!”

What is Ramadan?

“Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, when the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Observing Ramadan is regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam.

How is it observed?

Many Muslims will fast each day from sunrise to sunset. This includes not eating food, drinking liquids or smoking. It is common to have one meal known as the suhoor just before sunrise and an evening meal known as Iftar after sunset. This year in the UK, working Muslims will be fasting from around 4am until 9pm every day; that’s 17 hours of not eating or drinking every day for 30 days!

More than fasting

“Ramadan is a time of prayer and self-reflection, where Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur'an. It is also a time for charity-giving, which can involve both making donations and participating in charitable events.”

Although fasting is usually the primary association with Ramadan, the month involves a lot more exertion than refraining from food and water.

As well as physical things that can break one’s fast, there are also actions that are considered impermissible, like lying, slander, denouncing someone behind their back, greed or covetousness.

Eating your first meal at sunset, extra prayers, late nights and a heightened emphasis on patience and virtue are all part of experiencing the holy month.”