Ramadan: Sheffield Imam reminds families to keep social distance during festival

The holy festival of Ramadan starts on Monday evening, meaning many Muslims in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire will fast during the hours of daylight for the next four weeks.

Ramadan marks a holy time of year, a period of reflection on the world and faith. During Ramadan Muslims give thanks to Allah, while fasting allows them to understand the suffering of others.

Those observing the fast are encouraged to read the Quran and the holy text is recited at special nightly prayers held throughout the month.

But Covid restrictions mean it will, once again, be difficult for families to come together to celebrate Ramadan.

Muslim community leaders are urging people to remember the restrictions and enjoy Ramadan while making sure everyone stays safe.

Imam Osama Sacha, from Makki Mosque in Sheffield, said: "If just this month we can sacrifice, hopefully, next year we will be able to resume our family meals; which I know hold great significance for all Muslims."

Imam Qari Asim, the chair of Mosques and Imams, said that he wants people to use the holy month to contribute positively to society after a year when many people have struggled because of Covid.

He said: "We are turning this into something positive. We are asking people to donate funds to local food banks and provide meals to those who are vulnerable and in isolation in our communities.

"It will be profoundly different this year, but we are grateful we can still come together even with restrictions in place."

Imam Asim also encouraged people to continue to get their coronavirus vaccine during Ramadan.

"The vast majority of scholars believe that taking the vaccine in the month of Ramadan will not break the fast," he said.

"The message from Muslim religious leadership is that one should not miss the opportunity to take the vaccine when they are invited to do so."

He added that he believed that vaccine hesitancy in Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities had reduced.