The month of Ramadan
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Throughout the world this month, many people will be taking part in Ramadan. This is a period of fasting during daylight hours each day during the month. This can also include staying away from drinking and smoking or anything in excess.
Ramadan takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is currently taking place until 27th July. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is seen as a time to focus on spirituality, humility and attention to god. Fasting will continue until the rise of a new moon, which can last between 29-30 days.
As Ramadan falls in the summer this year, it will be a harder time for anyone participating to cope with the need to eat or drink with the heat of the summer weather.
It is also the first time that Ramadan has coincided with the World Cup since 1986. Many footballers, including World Cup winners Mesut Ozil and Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri announced that they would not be fasting for the tournament. There was a concern that participants who make it to the knock-out stages would find it hard to cope with the heat in line with fasting. This article from the Huffington Post describes more about the challenges which had faced players in the World Cup who were taking part in Ramadan.
Meals will be taken before sunrise or after sunset. In the evening, this is called ‘Iftaar’. Those fasting can also eat at the mosque. This piece from Wales Online describes how it can cost £700 to feed everyone attending a mosque during Ramadan.
You may have heard your neighbours cooking late into the night. It may be that your neighbours are taking part in Ramadan. Why not ask your neighbours more about Ramadan and see if there is anything you can do to help during the month?
At the end of Ramadan, a festival takes place called Eid ul-Fitr. Starting with morning prayers, it is followed by celebration between family and friends with a feast. The end of fasting is also to thank Allah for the strength he has given to help those taking part practice self-control.
Those will not be fasting this month are the elderly, children, the sick and those who are pregnant. Ramadan can be a testing period anytime in the year. The NHS has put together a website to help those fasting to be mindful of their health for the period.