Ramadan 2020 - Support for Students
Some background information to support Loughborough College learners and their families experiencing Ramadan in the UK amidst COVID-19 restrictions
With the Christian celebration of Easter recently passing, many learners and their families will have experienced a different sort of festival owing to the impact of COVID-19 and the associated restrictions on movement, gatherings and access to services and facilities.
For nearly two billion Muslims across the world, Thursday 23rd April 2020, sees the start of the holy month of Ramadan, the month of communal prayer, daytime fasting, night time feasting, socialising, sharing, generosity and worship. The month of Ramadan is the holiest month of the Islamic year and a time to renew and reaffirm one’s faith in Allah.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. A key objective of fasting is to increase closeness to God (taqwa) and to engender a sense of gratitude, self-discipline and self-improvement, at both an individual and community level. At an individual level, fasting encourages an affinity with the poor across the world who have little or no food to eat. At a community level, the meal to break the fast at sunset each day (iftar) encourages families and local communities to share their meal together during Ramadan. Young children, the old, the sick, travellers and women who are breastfeeding or menstruating are examples of those who are exempt from fasting.
The Quran describes Ramadan in the following verses:
"O you who believe, fasting has been proscribed for you as it was proscribed for those who came before you so that you may become more pious" – (Quran 2:183)
"The month of Ramadan (is the month) in which the Quran has been sent down as guidance for mankind containing clear signs that lead (to the straight road) and distinguishing (the truth from falsehood)." [Quran 2:185]
The impact of COVID-19 will limit the social and communal elements of Ramadan but may enable greater focus on self-reflection and connection with God. Mosques and community centres are closed meaning there will be no congregational Friday prayers, community iftars or late-night evening prayers (tarawih). It is also likely that the celebratory festival of Eid ul Fitr (which marks the end of Ramadan) will be impacted and the normal congregational Eid prayers, parties and family gatherings will not take place.
In current circumstances, this Ramadan may be especially difficult for some of our learners, particularly those who are finding social distancing and isolation already challenging. Now, more than ever, the Loughborough College community should show unity and compassion.
In the UK, at this time of year, fasting will be broadly between 3.00am and 8.30pm. Ramadan enables Muslims to renew their relationship with Allah, it allows life to slow down so that Muslims can reflect on the many blessings they have, and to purify the soul by spending more time in prayer and supplication by reading the Quran. It is a time of giving and sharing, showing generosity and kindness. This year, more than ever, Ramadan will be experienced at an even slower pace, allowing Muslims to spend more time in reflection and becoming more God-conscious.
Help, support and resources to support learners during Ramadan 2020:
Mosques are currently closed for collective worship, as per government guidelines. However, making contact with your local Mosque, Imam or community leaders will enable access to online resources and support to feel part of the Islamic community.
The British Board of Scholars and Imams have also issued guidance for Ramadan during the Covid-19 pandemic that can be found in its entirety here: http://www.bbsi.org.uk/ramadan-in-the-era-of-covid-19/ The executive summary is included at the end of this document.
The Muslim Council of Britain has produced guidance for Muslims in relation to Ramadan 2020. The full guidance can be accessed on: https://mcb.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/MCB-Ramadan-2020-Guidance.pdf Some extracts are included below.
The Karimia Institute in Nottingham with Dr. Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari has the following online schedule of events that anyone is welcome to access via YouTube on: https://www.youtube.com/karimiainstitute
- Every Wednesday - 7:30 pm - Study Circle (Darse Quran)
- Every Friday - 1:00 pm - Friday Naseeha
- Every Friday - 'Think Quran' podcast new episode released https://www.majesticquran.co.uk/think-quran/
Daily (during Ramadan only):
- LIVE Taraweeh - 10:00 pm - Listen to the recitation of the Quran along with a summary (whole Quran to be completed in the month)
Learner advice (from The Muslim Council of Britain)
Much like working from home, studying from home without the benefit of your classmates and direct face to face time with your lecturers can have its own challenges. Fasting may tire you out further, and dehydration is often a factor is reducing focus and concentration. Much like with working from home, consider the following:
- Give your Progress Tutor advance notice that you will be fasting
- Ensure that you are taking regular breaks from studying for rest and reflection – perhaps around prayer (salaah) time
- Set yourself a study timetable
- Account for salaah and iftar times, as well as class timetables, when structuring your day
- Start the day earlier if your timetable allows you to so that you can finish earlier and have some down time prior to iftar
- Share your experience of Ramadan with classmates and friends by having conversations about Ramadan and what the month means for you
- Complete studies and other commitments with patience and positivity
- Take a break if you feel tired or frustrated
Guidance from The Muslim Council of Britain on how to adapt Ramadan 2020:
It is important to plan your Ramadan activities given the current restrictions. Consider:
- Organising prayers (taraweeh) at home as a family and pray in congregation
- Streaming Islamic lectures or taraweeh in your home, either pre-recorded or live
- Arranging virtual iftars with loved ones and community members through the many online video calling facilities available
- Planning your iftar menus in advance so that you can limit multiple shopping trips given social distancing measures
- Hydrating well for the long fasting days. Dehydration can lead to tiredness, headaches, lack of focus/concentration
- Eating high energy, slow burn foods on starting your fast (suhoor)
- Remaining energised throughout the workday, especially as we can experience heightened levels of anxiety during these times
- Taking regular breaks to reflect and take time for yourself
- Do not over worship – it is important to be good to yourself – sometimes it is quality over quantity
Please remember that all Loughborough College learners can access support from their curriculum tutors, progress tutor and from the Learner Services support teams:
- Mental Health Co-ordinators: email@example.com
- Wellbeing Mentors: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Inclusion Mentors: email@example.com
- Safeguarding: 07979 737474