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“This is a month of forgiveness, time when we come together as family and friends, in our ever busy lives”

Every year, Muslims enter a period of fasting and reflection to focus on the goals of Ramadan: an awareness of God and a humble thankfulness for whatever blessings he has granted. This year, Ramadan begins on 2 April - concluding on  1 May. The end of the Ramadan fast is celebrated as Eid al-Fitr, the “Feast of Fast-Breaking,”.

In celebration of the holy month, two members of our fantastic Team Solent have shared their thoughts on what this time means to themselves and their faith.  

First up, we spoke to Nas Ahmed, Assistant Catering Manager at Solent NHS Trust

What makes Ramadan special to you?

This is a month of forgiveness, time when we come together as family and friends, in our ever so busy lives. We self-reflect, pray, and think of the unfortunate.

How does it differ from other months?

This month has the act of fasting and the holy Quran was sent down this month. Also we have the superior night of Qadr. Ramadan enlightens and cleanses hearts and souls through fasting and engaging in prayer. We give Zakat (charity) to the unfortunate before Eid prayers, so we all can celebrate. 

How do you balance work and fasting?

I have personally never found fasting difficult while working in catering, as I have always been supported by my managers. Having the multifaith room, there is an opportunity to keep up with prayers and take time out if needed. Every individual is different through so may have other requirements.

What’s your most memorable Ramadan?

My most memorable Ramadan was my first fast, which I was so proud of completing at the age of 12. 

How do you celebrate Eid?

I attend the Eid Prayer at our local mosque with my family and meet the congregation. I spend the day visiting my family and check in with the elders and my neighbours with some lovely food.

Nazeefa Khan, Business Support Team Coordinator at Solent, who is based at St Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth shares her thoughts…

What makes Ramadan special to you?

Ramadan is so special to me as it is a time to reflect, connect more with your lord and strengthen your faith. It is also to appreciate all the blessings you have been given and being thankful for it. Remembering and praying for the unfortunate people around the world, helping them, donating to charity, and getting together as a community nationwide to raise funds.

How does it differ from other months?

It is such a surreal feeling when Ramadan is approaching. Everyone is so excited for this month; it is the holiest month for Muslims. We wait every year for Ramadan to approach as it is a time to cleanse yourself, your mind, your health, and having a positive outlook. It differs from other months because this month brings families closer and having a meal together at the end of each fast. Usually everyone is so busy with work, routine, children, and other commitments. Also, I decorate my house with Ramadan décor to make it feel like a celebration.

How do you balance work and fasting?

Getting the balance is important as this month is so special to Muslims and to make the most of this month with working is finding that balance. I ask my manager to change my working hours during this month and take part annual leave to start a bit later as the timetable during this month is different. My manager has always been supportive of this and I have done this for the past three years.

What’s your most memorable Ramadan?

My most memorable Ramadan is 2020 during COVID. It was the first time I could work from home, spending time with my loved ones as we were not able to go anywhere. I was able to fully commit to Ramadan by reading my prayers on time, reading the Quran more, reflecting on myself, strengthen myself in many ways spiritually. I didn’t have to worry about the world during this time as everyone was near enough in the same situation not being able to go anywhere. We became so much closer as a family during this difficult time. I don’t think I will ever get a Ramadan like this again.

How do you celebrate Eid?

Eid is a special time for all Muslims. I celebrate with a new outfit for this occasion, I like to match with my husband and siblings if I can. We do presents for each other and have a massive lunch round my parents. We visit family and friends during this day, play games and do quizzes in between lots of food. We video call loved ones who we can’t physically see to wish them “Eid Mubarak”.

Nazeefah also tells of special prayer during the month of Ramadan

While we fast and pray, even waiting for iftar (meal to break fast) is all about remembrance of Allah Almighty. Muslims offer special prayers during the holy month of Ramadan, one of them is Taraweeh that is held every night during Ramadan. Every Muslim is expected to attend and offer this special prayer.

If you are interested in learning more about Ramadan, why not read this brilliant and informative guide from The Muslim Council of Britain, which offers key information on what the holy month means for Muslims, plus much more: https://mcb.org.uk/press-releases/mcb-launches-comprehensive-guide-welcoming-ramadan-2022/ 

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