"WHEN THE MONTH OF RAMADAN STARTS, THE GATES OF HEAVEN ARE OPENED AND THE GATES OF HELL ARE CLOSED AND THE DEVILS ARE CHAINED."
- PROPHET MUHAMMAD PBUH
The blessed month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims the world over. This blessed month is a great opportunity for spiritual reflection, celebrating community and prayer. During the month of Ramadan, fasting from dawn to sunset is obligatory for all Muslims who are able. This fasting consists primarily of refraining from all food and drink, as well as other obligations such as sexual intercourse and smoking, during daylight times.
With tens of thousands of Muslim Labour members, and with an election period falling within the month of Ramadan, there are going to be significant impacts on Labour groups and CLPs in the coming weeks. This guide has been put together by the Labour Muslim Network to support our Party and Muslim members across the UK.
Ramadan is estimated to fall on/around April 2nd.
Muslims who are observing the fast will be breaking their fast (iftaar) at/around Maghrib (sunset) prayer time. This means any activity and campaigning scheduled for around this time will be difficult to attend.
When organising campaign sessions, meetings, events and other activity, consider that this time will be inaccessible for many Muslims.
Reduce Campaigning Hours
As we approach the warmer months of the year and without food and water in the daylight hours, many Muslims naturally find themselves with less energy than usual and needing to break activities into smaller time chunks.
Local Labour groups and CLPs could consider reducing campaigning sessions and activities to between 60-90mins.
Think About Socials
One of the most important and enjoyable aspects of a local Labour Party and Group is the ability to socialise with fellow members.
Please consider the venue that local socials are organised in. Pubs, Bars and heavily alchohol reliant venues will be inaccessible to many Muslims ordinarily -and particularly during Ramadan.
Visit Local Mosques and Community Centres
One of the great aspects of Ramadan is the opportunity for communities to come together. Local Mosques, community centres and Muslim groups will be serving food, providing charity and bringing communities together during Ramadan. If you can, reach out from your Labour Group and CLP and get involved.
Approach your Local Team
There are almost 3 million Muslims in the UK.
Approaching your local members and activists ahead of Ramadan and being sensitive to the obligations it presents for them will encourage people to come to you if they need any adjustment to their normal pattern or any other support.
Consider Small Adjustments
In most cases only slight adjustments to the working day will be needed and could include:
- avoiding organising 'lunch activities'
- avoid organising too many physically demanding events.
- consider providing significant breaks between campaigning sessions for activists and candidates.
- build prayer times into activity timings
Glossary of Terms
Here is a short list of common terms used by the Muslim community during Ramadan, and what they mean:
"Salah" - prayer
"Iftaar" - the breaking of ones fast
"Suhoor" - the meal consumed early in the morning before sunrise
"Taraweeh" - extra congregational prayers performed in mosques each night during Ramadan
"Maghrib" - evening prayers coinciding with sunset
"Fajr" - morning prayers coinciding with sunrise
"Itikhaf" - When someone decides to enter Itikhaf, which is a significant act of worship, they live in the mosque for the last 10 nights of Ramadan with the aim of increasing their worship to God in a focused way devoid of any distraction
"Laylat ul-Qadr" - This is the most holy night for Muslims and is translated as the ‘Night of Power’, when Muslims are encouraged to increase their worship and some may do so throughout the night
"Eid Al-Fitr" - the festival which marks the end of Ramadan and Muslims celebrate with family and friends.