Fasting, Faith, and Fellowship

As British Muslims, we face a number of challenges but I have to say this Ramadan brings about our true colours maashAllah. 5 (positive) observations of Ramadan in the UK:
1) Fajr packed – I don’t remember when Fajr prayer was so consistently packed at our Masjid in Cheadle and other mosques in the country. This is no doubt a great sign.
The first thing to be accounted for is the prayer and so if a large portion of the community make the effort to join the Imam at 4.30am on a daily basis, you know there is divine khayr. With all sizes and colours, it has been a blessing and something we as a community should be proud of as everyone stands for no other reason except to worship Allah.
2) Ramadan Muslims – This is sometimes used in a derogatory way for people who may ‘switch’ in Ramadan, but it should not be. The fact that people, who otherwise may not be religious, actually ‘try’ in Ramadan is a huge blessing in and of itself. It’s a sign Allah wants good for you.
Yes, we don’t encourage going back to old ways, but we should never look down on them. Abu Bakr (ra) said “Let not one of you look down upon another among the Muslims, for even the inferior of Muslims is great in the sight of Allah.” Everyone is trying and Allah is the one who rewards how he wills, to whom he wills.
In terms of post-Ramadan, one way of ensuring continuity is companionship (Suhbah). If there isn’t a casual study circle in the community, then set it up. 1 hour a week at someone’s house or the masjid, go through a book of hadith, have some tea/biscuits.
It’s not too much of a commitment and generally is excellent for people whose faith has been temporarily re-ignited during Ramadan.
3) Charity – I still get shocked at the generosity of our community. Though I don’t have the latest data, 10 years ago polls said Muslims give more per head (average £371) compared to other religious groups.
Anecdotally, we see this. Aunties giving their gold to the Imam at 12am in the night (Abid Khan) ?business men giving thousands per night at masjid fundraisers, but most touching are those who hardly have anything and they are giving whatever little they have in their accounts or even cooking for iftar distributions.
It’s not the money. Wallahi, it’s the fact people are willing to sacrifice because of the reward they beg from Allah.
With all the issues we may have in this sector, nothing takes away that we should be proud of our community’s generosity. Even non-Muslim charities recognise this and are getting in on the act of collecting for Ramadan/Zakah, but that’s a different story…!
4) Our womenfolk – as usual, the women in our community need to be specifically applauded for their role in Ramadan.
The number of women-led initiatives for the community is admirable. Community foodbanks, counselling services, revert support networks, teaching etc. Considering many have families and children, often working, it’s humbling how much has been done during these days of Ramadan.
Of course, a big shout out to the mothers and wives. Mothers in particular doing everything physically possible from cooking and preparing for the whole family without complaining or breaking a sweat. The single women who look after the kids and other responsibilities, but still manage to engage their heart for Allah. A fiqhi principle states ‘The reward is in accordance with the difficulty’.
We ask Allah he rewards all those with extra, for those who had to struggle in Ramadan.
5) The future of our youth – Finally, maybe I am getting old, but this new generation is now emerging in force. These guys are on the first row for Fajr and Qiyam al-layl slowly competing with our blessed front-line uncles. They are memorising Qur’an, rushing to do good deeds and setting an example for anyone entering the mosque.
I don’t remember this much zeal (on a larger community scale) for seeking knowledge and respect for the tradition when we were growing up 20 years ago. I think this is a good sign and we must act to preserve it as they are the future for the Muslim community and as guides even for our own children.
Anyway, I’ve just written an essay here, but highlighting to show why Allah says;
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ
“You are the best community that has been raised up for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid indecency; and you (all) believe in Allah” (3:110)
Yes, we have issues and internationally there is much work to do for our brothers and sisters, but we should celebrate certain success as they come and one of them is our communal response to Ramadan inshAllah.
Finally, it’s not colour, nationality or background which drives this goodness from the Muslim community in the UK. This is due to Islam that Allah has blessed us with and the sunnah of our Habeeb and his companions which guides us to be the best we can be. We say Alhamdulillah.