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Muslims enter toughest Ramadan yet

International 22 Apr, 2020 Follow News

British Muslims are adapting to an unusual Ramadan

Two billion Muslims worldwide have gone into Ramadan under difficult circumstances and in the UK, they are adapting to the month of fasting collectively.

The Muslim Council of Britain, the largest umbrella organisation for Muslims in Britain, has published online guidance to help millions cope with the restrictions of lockdown during Ramadan.

It says this year's Ramadan will be "a very different experience for Muslims as we adapt to changing circumstances during the Covid-19 pandemic". Ramadan started on Thursday and continues until May 23.

With lockdown continuing, there will be no congregational acts of worship outside the home, no Taraweeh prayers at the mosque and no iftars (usually a huge ritual meal marking the breaking of the fast after sundown) with friends and family to attend.

Instead, the MCB is offering guidance on how to arrange virtual iftars online with loved ones and community members by using video chat. Plan your iftar menus in advance, it says, to avoid multiple shopping trips.

It also suggests eating high-energy, slow-burning foods during the second meal of the night, the suhoor, which takes place just before dawn, to help maintain energy levels throughout the daylight fasting hours.

Daytime fasting can sometimes lead to frayed tempers, especially when someone has been up for much of the night and is then expected to start work in the morning.

The MCB advises Muslims to "honour your workplace duties with patience and good grace to those around you".

But it also warns that a refusal by employers to allow flexibility in work timings for fasting employees without a legitimate business reason could amount to unlawful indirect discrimination.

In any normal year, Ramadan is a time of communal prayer, of daytime fasting, night-time feasting, extensive socialising and acts of profound generosity and charity as Muslims reaffirm their faith in God.

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