St George's Islamic Society share what Ramadan 2021 has been like for them
Published: 13 May 2021
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began on Monday 12 April and concluded on Wednesday 12 May. Committee members of St George’s Islamic Society explain what Ramadan means to them, what Ramadan in 2021 has been like with continuing coronavirus related restrictions, and how the month influences their lives as students at St George’s.
What does Ramadan mean to you?
“Ramadan helps us to empathise with the poor and needy, however, it is also so much more - it helps in realigning values. Not only is a Muslim withholding their food and drink intake during the 29/30 days of Ramadan, they are also withholding their desire to live in the bliss of their own life.
“For just a small fraction of time we must all become one in our hunger, fatigue and struggle, but also in the peace and contentment of knowing that our faith will carry us through each day. Choosing to sacrifice a few hours of food is minor compared with the serenity and awakening that a Muslim goes through in such a glorified month in Islam.
“Ramadan is the one time we get to truly relax whilst also remaining productive. We can sit in the comfort of our own body and mind, reflecting on the past as well as considering all that is to come. We find ourselves ready to be and do more, turn back to God and assess just how many blessings we have. The sacrifices of Ramadan remind me of all the privileges in our lives.
“It is a blessed month that allows every Muslim to reflect on the past year and implement positive habits into our lives. Whilst it is known as a month of abstaining from food and drink, we also abstain from harsh words and foul language, unkind behaviour, negative thoughts and harming others. It is a time to spiritually reconnect so that we can be mindful of our thoughts and actions on the world around us.
“Ramadan is a spiritual journey we embark upon by increasing our recitation of the holy texts and completing more prayers. We take this time to remember the importance of gratitude through donating to various charities, setting up food banks and fundraising to help support causes that are personal to us. It is a month of unity, self-improvement, self-discipline and spiritual devotion. We strive to leave this month as an improved version of ourselves with the best of character and a closeness to our purpose in life.”
How has Ramadan 2021 been different this year with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic?
“Compared to last year’s Ramadan when we were in a full national lockdown, this year has felt pleasantly ‘normal’, particularly as most mosques are now open and have resumed having the five daily prayers in congregation. There is also an evening prayer uniquely for the month of Ramadan, called taraweeh. This has established that sense of community when Muslims pray together in a congregation which was dearly missed in last year’s Ramadan in lockdown.
“Nonetheless, there are some things which have been made different as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The primary difference being that the previous common customs of inviting friends and family over to break our fasts together at home has not been able to happen. However, this is something to look forward to for the future.
How do you find life as a St George’s student during Ramadan? Do you make any alterations to your routine during the month?
“Life at St George’s becomes slightly different during the month of Ramadan. Revision becomes far more focused without the distraction of a quick snack, for example. A day will start a bit later having done acts of worship during the night such as praying and reading our holy book, the Qur’an.
“We begin to realign our principles and inclinations in life that had brought us into the healthcare sector in the first place - to want the betterment of the lives around us, to aid in whichever way shape or form we can and to be a source of resilience/discipline even amongst fatigue and unfavourable circumstances. Ramadan can be that boost needed to help push through the rest of the academic year, with conviction and with willingness.”