My name is Rehema and I work in the nursery at Coin Street as a Learning and Development Coach. My parents were first generation immigrants to England from India. I am a British Asian Indian born and raised in Yorkshire. I moved to London in 1994 and have held onto my Yorkshire drawl as I haven’t found anything worth trading it for, as yet! I am also a practicing Muslim and follow the religion of Islam. My religion is hugely important to me and has shaped me from birth and continues to do so. Currently, we are in the month of Ramadhan which is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. In this blog, I will share a little of what Ramadhan means to me.
The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, meaning it is based on the monthly cycle of the moon. It differs from the English calendar in that each month has either 29 or 30 days (depending on moon sightings). This is why Ramadhan ‘moves forward’ 10 days in relation to the English calendar each year. This year Ramadhan falls between April 2nd and May 1st. During this month, most Muslims will fast between the hours of sunrise and sunset. People who are ill, frail, travelling or elderly are exempt from fasting as well as women who are pregnant.
The lunar cycle
Fasting means that I do not consume any food or drink between sunrise and sunset. I will eat a pre-dawn meal called ‘Suhur’ and then eat a meal again at sunset called ‘Iftar’ which means to 'break fast’. I share and send Iftar meals with family, friends and neighbours as well as those who are ill or isolated and lonely in the community.
For me, Ramadhan is a time to reflect and take a step back from every-day things such as socialising and work and spend more time with my family at home. It is a time to strengthen my connection with Allah (God) and be more steadfast in my prayers. The time and space I create allows me to evaluate and reflect on what it is I am striving for in life and be ever grateful for all I have. It is also a month in which I have a renewed focus on those who are less fortunate than myself. Those who are living life under oppression, in war zones and struggling to access food to feed their families. Like many Muslims in Ramadhan, I increase my donations to charity to help those who are suffering and in need.
A tasbeeh (prayer beads) and prayer mat
Ramadhan is a peaceful, reflective, and spiritual month which I look forward to and welcome each year. It can be difficult going without food and water for long periods of time, for those who know me, I do miss my cups of tea! However, I welcome the detox it offers my body and mind.
Please feel free to say ‘Ramadhan Kareem’ to me and ask me any questions about Ramadhan or my religion. I would welcome a conversation which may help you to understand more about my religion and equally maybe I can ask you a little about what is important to you so we can continue to create a sense of belonging at Coin Street.
Ramadhan Kareem everyone.
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