How families in the Anglia region are marking Ramadan in lockdown

Families are adapting Ramadan practices like iftar. Credit: Ibrahim Rahman
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Millions of Muslims across the world are marking the holy month of Ramadan.

Normally a time of fasting, reflection and coming together. But normal practices are having to be changed to accommodate current lockdown rules.

The Rahman family live in Cambridge. Ordinarily they would break the fast with family and neighbours, but now they’re having to adapt.

16-year-old Aminah says she misses Iftar parties Credit: Ibrahim Rahman

Shahida’s 16-year-old daughter would have been preparing for her GCSEs alongside fasting, but now she’s able to do schoolwork from home and take more time on study of the Qur’an.

The family are relying a lot more on social media for their worship.

Their local mosque – the Cambridge Central Mosque – is offering prayers, lectures and recitations from the Qur’an.

The Rahman family pray at home. Credit: Ibrahim Rahman

Dr Sejad Mekic is the Principal Imam.

He says it’s a very strange time for everyone, and this Ramadan is like no other he or many will ever have experienced. “Our mosque is a social hub for many families”, he explains. “We are doing what we can to offer support and offer recorded and live videos and audio to help people during this time.”

Shahida says that connection through social media really helps. “In the morning after our pre-dawn meal, I like to sit and listen to our Imams who are reciting the Qur’an. We can see the mosque and it’s almost like being there.”

The Mosque offers live prayers and recitations. Credit: Cambridge Central Mosque

Ibrahim Rahman is the social media officer for the mosque. There are 8,000 people on the Facebook page alone and he says during the pandemic and Ramadan, as people look for spiritual guidance, all the social media outlets are gaining popularity here and with audiences around the world.

Politicians have thanked Muslims around the country for helping with the fight against Coronavirus by staying at home.

Health Secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock thanked those working in the NHS and other key workers who cannot celebrate Ramadan as they normally would.

Uzma Sarwar is a GP in Bedfordshire. She too is urging Muslims to stay at home during Ramadan.

“We want everyone to have a really happy Ramadan,” she says. “But we need you to be safe, stay indoors. You are protecting your wider family and friends by staying away from them.”

There is a sense of sadness that people can’t come together in the traditional way. But social distancing is providing more family time and time for reflection and contemplation. It’s also giving many an even greater gratitude for home, loved ones and well-being.