Today marks the start of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, one of the five pillars of Islam and one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims. Typically, the start of the month is welcomed with greetings such as ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ (have a blessed Ramadan) or ‘Ramadan Kareem’ (have a generous Ramadan) This month is significantly known as the month where the Quran was sent down to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as guidance to mankind. Ramadan always arrives when our souls need the most spiritual sustenance and in the midst of all the uncertainty we face in the world, there is no better time to connect with God and increase our good deeds and blessings.
Ramadan for me is a time of reflection, letting go of bad habits, detaching from the worldly pleasures and connecting more with my faith. It isn’t about emptying our stomach but feeding our soul. I will spend the blessed days observing the five daily prayers, recitation of the Quran, giving to charity, spiritual and self reflection. This is an opportunity to cultivate habits that we can carry throughout the year and strive to be the very best version of ourselves. There is such comfort in knowing that over a billion people observe the month with me, the serenity of standing shoulder to shoulder in prayer, being charitable with the community and sharing the joy of iftar with family and friends. One of the most beautiful lessons from the month is that fasting gives us a small window to empathise more deeply with those less fortunate across the world. It allows us to reflect on what we take for granted and makes us appreciate the countless blessings we have.
Despite the hardship of fasting for a whole month, most Muslims myself included, actually look forward to Ramadan and are a little sad when it’s over. There’s something really special about knowing that billions of fellow Muslims around the world are experiencing the same and that we’re all in it together. While I have my occasional slip ups of feeling tired, getting headaches and being unproductive – every year I really look forward to taking on the challenge.
Through the experience of hunger and thirst, the spirit of Ramadan inspires Muslims to be charitable.
But for lots of practising Muslim people around the world, who are displaced or seeking asylum, breaking the fast with Iftar can be extra challenging. For those living in temporary accommodations where there are little to no cooking facilities, preparing, finding and being able to afford suitable foods to break Iftar can be impossible.
At Choose Love, many of our partners support Muslim families throughout Ramadan, by providing food parcels.
This year we will be supporting the Hopetowns project as they distribute 250 Ramadan parcels to people seeking sanctuary in hotel accommodations in London.
Hopetowns is a community group, led by people who have themselves been through the process of claiming asylum in the UK. Together, they support asylum seekers and refugees to integrate into the community, provide a friendly and practical support system and look out for each other’s well-being.
In Greece, our partner Lighthouse Relief is preparing to distribute parcels to 200 families during Ramadan, aiming to reach around 1000 people, including 450 children. Lighthouse Relief does incredible work to provide food packages to vulnerable families living in insecure housing in Athens. Without Lighthouse Relief’s support, these families would otherwise not be able to access any official food services. Their work is a real lifeline.
This Ramadan, all purchases to our Hot Food Item on the Choose Love Shop will go towards supporting those celebrating, and helping our partners to distribute Iftar food parcels.
These food parcels will include suitable foods like dates, chickpeas, tea, milk powder and more to ensure those receiving can have a peaceful Iftar, no matter the circumstances.
You can help a fasting person to have Iftar by purchasing the Hot Food item from our Choose Love shop today.
Thank you so much.