As British Muslims begin to observe the holy month of Ramadan on Thursday and Friday, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has published its guidance (PDF) for communities to make the most out of the season while the UK remains in lockdown.
The guidelines are part of the MCB’s sustained initiative to encourage British Muslims to stay at home and provide a platform for mosques and Islamic associations to continue to serve their congregations during the pandemic lockdown. In recent weeks Muslim communities have been working hard to continue to be able to engage with religion and their communities, from taking mosques digital to providing support for the vulnerable.
The suspension of services in mosques and social distancing measures will make Ramadan 2020 feel very different for Muslims. Ramadan is usually a time for Muslims to gather with friends and family and in mosques to break the fast and pray together.
The MCB’s guidance advises ways in which Muslims across the UK can still make the most of Ramadan from home socially and spiritually. The guidance includes advice on hosting and attending virtual iftars (meal at the end of fasting) to tuning in to their local mosque’s livestreamed services.
Many mosques across the UK have been ramping up their online presence, already offering daily sermons or prayers sessions, with Imams working to continue to engage with their communities and help keep up morale during these trying times.
Ramadan is also a month of giving, be that financially to charity or physically in service to others. Many mosques rely on donations to sustain services and the pandemic has made it increasingly difficult for mosques to raise funds. The #SupportOurMosque campaign, led by Muslim crowd-funding platform LaunchGood and supported by the MCB, is one example of leading innovation in Muslim communities, by offering mosques an online donation platform for congregants to continue to donate money.
The pandemic has also seen a surge in efforts to care for and help those in need. Huge numbers of Muslim-led community initiatives have sprung up across the UK, from using mosques as foodbanks to delivering medication and essentials to vulnerable people. The MCB is encouraging all Muslims to use the holy month of Ramadan to give back to their communities, both in the way of financial donations to their local mosques if they can afford it and getting involved in local initiatives if it is safe to do so.