“Fasting is prescribed for you as it was for those before you, so that you may be conscious of Allah.”
The holy month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This blessed month is an opportunity for Muslims the world over to engage in spiritual reflection, celebration of community and prayer.
During the month of Ramadan, fasting from dawn to sunset is obligatory for all Muslims who are physically and mentally able. Fasting consists primarily of refraining from all food and drink, as well as other obligations, during daylight times.
This year, like last, Ramadan falls within an important election period for the Labour Party. With tens of thousands of Muslim Labour members all across the UK, there are going to be significant impacts on members, Labour groups and CLPs in this holy month.
The annual LMN Ramadan guide aims to support our Party and Muslim members across the UK.
When is Ramadan?
Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The start and end of the month is determined by the citing of the moon.
Useful Information and Tips
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 for many Muslims.
We advise all groups and CLPs organising campaign sessions, meetings, events and other activity, to consider that this time will be inaccessible for many Muslims during Ramadan.
Campaigning & Socials
Muslim members observing the fast will be going without food and water in the daylight hours. This will naturally mean many will find themselves with less energy than usual and needing to break activities into smaller time chunks.
Labour groups and CLPs could consider reducing campaigning sessions and activities to between 60-90mins.
We know how important and enjoyable it is socialising with local Labour members. A strong bond between activists and members is crucial to strong Labour groups and constituency parties. Please consider the venue that local socials are organised in.
Pubs, Bars and heavily alcohol reliant venues will be inaccessible to many Muslims ordinarily - and particularly during Ramadan.
One of the important pillars of Ramadan is the celebration of communities. Local Mosques, community centres and Muslim groups will be serving food, providing charity and bringing communities together during the month of Ramadan.
If you can, reach out from your Labour Group and CLP and get involved. It is an amazing opportunity to build links and develop close relationships.
With almost 4 million Muslims in the UK, there are likely people in your local team who will be observing Ramadan in some form this coming month.
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.
Making Small Adjustments
Ramadan is hugely important to Muslim members, but it might only need small adjustments from you to be inclusive. In most cases slight adjustments to the working day 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.