For Muslims across Buckinghamshire, the holy month of Ramadan – which begins on Thursday 23 April – will feel very different this year. Government guidance on staying at home means that it will not be possible for people to attend congregational prayers or break fast with family and friends living outside their household. Additionally, the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic means that it is more important than ever before that people take appropriate steps to look after their physical and mental health.
Buckinghamshire Council’s Public Health team have issued the following advice and guidance to anyone wishing to observe Ramadan this year:
Some groups of people are exempt from fasting, including anyone who is unwell, frail or has an existing health condition – if you have any specific concerns then you should contact your GP.
Important guidance on fasting during Ramadan for people with diabetes is available from Diabetes UK.It is important to drink plenty of fluids before fasting to reduce the risk of dehydration. Urgently rehydrate with regular, moderate quantities of water if you begin to feel dizzy, are struggling to stand up or are feeling disorientated.Ramadan is an excellent time to focus on ways in which you can eat and live more healthily. Additional information on healthy eating during Ramadan is available from the British Nutrition Foundation.
If you would like help to quit smoking or lose weight then please visit Buckinghamshire’s Live Well Stay Well.It is also important that people continue to keep in touch with friends, family and members of their communities online and over the phone. The Muslim Council of Britain have published extensive guidance on maintaining spiritual connection and togetherness during Ramadan, whilst the country remains in lockdown. Top tips include information on hosting virtual iftars and streaming prayers online.
Imam Arif Hussain MBE, of The Chesham Mosque, said:
“Whilst we as a country are going through this pandemic, I urge all Muslims, young and old, who take part in this holy month of Ramadan, to be mindful of the Government’s advice at all times. The amazing technology we have means families and communities can remain close and in touch in different ways without compromising health and well-being, and I have been heartened to see the different ways in which that has already happened. Ramadan has always been a time for reflection, spiritual awakening and reconnecting with faith. It is also a time of giving to charity and thinking of our fellow citizens. I have every confidence that Muslims will fulfil their duties properly in this period to their communities and towns in which they live. I pray for the health and happiness for all and wish everyone Ramadan Mubarak.”
Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Health and Culture, said:
“The ongoing lockdown is having a widespread impact on all of our lives. Ordinarily Ramadan is a really important time during which Muslim communities come together for communal prayer, meals and charitable work. This year the lockdown restrictions will mean that communities will have to find new and creative ways to be together during Ramadan. I would urge everyone to follow the extensive guidance issued by the Muslim Council of Britain and to take appropriate steps to look after your health and wellbeing where necessary. Finally, I would like to wish everyone Ramadan Mubarak – I hope that this holy month brings you peace and good health.”