Committing to Ramadan in an uncertain time

Shuheb Miah

Hi there!

My name is Shuheb Miah and I work as a young advisor at Sheffield Futures, where I work with others to make services and resources aimed at young people (YP) more user friendly, so they work best in helping YP as part of the YP’s generation myself! This is paramount with what’s currently happening now and I hope in this climate, this post can give young people (YP) a little hope, confidence and some time to reflect!

I am also quite proud to say that I’m from an ethnic minority background of British Bangladeshi decent, which brings me to the main purpose of this short post: Ramadan and my reflections so far as well as for YP in lockdown who are fasting, whether from the Muslim community or not!

It’s both a blessing in disguise for me to be able to celebrate and maintain this sacred tradition this year round (fasting having started from Friday 24th April post sehri time at 3.59AM or on Saturday for most Muslims), but at the same time I’m sure for anyone reading this post, whether from the Muslim community or those who are simply devoting their time to fasting in this holy month, can agree with me that is a very difficult time for us all. Partly, due to the lockdown guidelines set out by the government  mainly telling us all to stay home and only go out when essential once a day (for exercise, shopping, work or medicinal supplies). Whilst this change has had a clear effect on our day-day lives, I think it’s safe to say that these rules are in place to protect us all and also perhaps more vaguely, to let us know that we are in this together as well.

The values behind Ramadan have never been clearer to me and have allowed to see a symbol of togetherness and solidarity in the lockdown. Fasting also referred to in Muslim faith as Sawm as the fourth pillar of Islam, is a time of empathy and feeling thankful for what we have compared to those across the world who are not as privileged as us here in the UK. What better time to reflect and show our immense gratitude, our compassion for the YP, adults, children and families that have been deprived long before the virus from shelter, a place to call home and access to basic food and water; it truly saddens me on how these issues are heightened at this time.

I think it’s exceptional how the coronavirus pandemic has led to so many unforgettable realisations and has taught me a lot. It gives me both immense happiness and pride to be fasting in this time. These include how resilient our NHS has been in this adverse time and also the amazing and valiant frontline key workers including the amazing professionals at Sheffield Futures and an empowerment charity that I work with called Chilypep, providing virtual assistance to YP on their Facebook pages, Instagram and on their websites. Furthermore, for those risking their lives to support the public and YP affected in this time (NHS staff, teachers, youth and social workers/care, bus drivers and retail staff amongst many more), a mere thank you wouldn’t be enough.

After reading an article in the Guardian by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, it truly hit me on the risk our NHS staff workers face, like warriors going out to a battlefield knowing what’s at stake. I send over my condolences and indebtedness to all of our NHS staff (whom the mayor says have been hugely affected) and to all who have lost their lives serving the public.

Equally, behaviour is something that has stood out to me with the clap for the NHS/carers, which happens every Thursday evening and urge others to do as well. Perhaps a small gesture but massive for showing our huge thanks and something I feel fulfilment to take part in. Even on a smaller scale, the way my family and many families I’m sure across the UK have come closer together at home. I know for a fact that these changes are working to  keep our NHS and our lives moving forward, together.

Coming to the end, I just wanted to wrap up with how things are going for me in the first few days of fasting with a few cloaked tips! Whether  I’m going about my day reading a book or listening to an audiobook, cramming films/shows on Netflix and Disney+ or doing an online course, I always make sure to  pray namaaz for my family, friends and everyone affected and for those who have tragically died due to the virus. I can say with certainty that I will never forget the hardships yet determination, that we as a society will pull through and are showing now and also for the amazing things and people that have come to light during this pandemic.

Link to Government page with guidance on:

Sadiq Khan’s article on the link between race and socioeconomic impacts of coronavirus:

I hope that everyone stays safe at home and Ramadan mubaraak 🙂

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