As stated in our Belonging at Bauer Diversity and Inclusion Manifesto, we are committed to educating both ourselves and our teams to help create a more inclusive and open culture, supporting everyone to improve and celebrate the diversity of our business. Hanifa Dungarwalla, Group Digital Marketing Manager, discusses the importance of Ramadan and Eid and how she and her family marked the holy events this year – a second year in lockdown.
What is Ramadan and why is it so important to Muslims?
Ramadan is the Arabic name for the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It is considered one of the holiest Islamic months.
It's also one of the Five Pillars of Islam. These are five principles which Muslims believe are compulsory acts ordered by God and are the back bone of the way Muslims live their lives.
Muslims believe that some of the first verses of the Islamic holy book, the Quran, were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadan. Extra emphasis is placed on reciting the Quran at this time.
Fasting is considered to be an act of worship, which enables Muslims to feel closer to God and strengthen their spiritual health and self-discipline.
How does fasting work?
Muslims have an early morning meal before dawn, known as Sehri. They break their fast after sunset for the evening meal, called Iftar. Traditionally, we break that fast by eating dates.
Ramadan is also a time when Muslims are encouraged to give to charity, strengthen their relationship with God, and show kindness and patience. It’s a real test of willpower but that is what makes Ramadan so important - it’s a chance for us to connect spiritually and support one another.
How has Ramadan been different this year?
This is the second Ramadan to have fallen during the coronavirus pandemic. I never thought that I would have to go through another month of fasting and feel so isolated from my community and from my family.
While Zoom calls are great, they aren’t the same. Ramadan is a chance for us to connect because it’s a shared experience and we often meet to break the fast together… this was just not possible again for another year.
However, with some easing of restrictions, there was the possibility to meet outside and this was a real blessing in a time when our traditions were placed on pause. I personally missed the sound of the call to prayer. My grandfather is the Imam for my local Islamic community and I missed hearing his voice as he called us all to prayer.
What is Eid al-Fitr?
Eid takes place at the end of Ramadan. The name "Eid al-Fitr" translates as "the festival of the breaking of the fast”.
Like the beginning of Ramadan, Eid begins with the first sighting of the new moon. For most Muslims in the UK, this fell on the evening of 12 May.
Eid al-Fitr this year was again restricted due to the pandemic. We usually meet as families and celebrate with a big feast. We also start Eid with prayers at the mosque, but again, this was not possible and so instead we had a virtual prayer meeting.
The Eid feast is really the perfect way to end the month of fasting and it’s a reminder of all the things that we have to be grateful for - our loved ones, great food and all our favourite home cooked delights.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and I wish you all an Eid Mubarak.