As many of our Muslim friends begin their Holy Month of fasting this week , a member of the Law School Academic Faculty has taken the time to pen her thoughts on the month ahead and how this will look in light of the current Coronavirus pandemic. Read on for inspiration.
Ramadan Reflections – Week 1
As a Muslim I have lived through many different types of Ramadan throughout my life. The month of Ramadan moves with the lunar calendar so each year it falls 10 days earlier as the lunar calendar is 10 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. I have observed my Ramadan fasts in the long summer months, I have fasted in the short winter days. I have fasted living in England and I have been fortunate enough to spend some of my Ramadans in Saudi Arabia undertaking pilgrimages. At different times in my life I have fasted as a student, as a working solicitor, as a lecturer and as an academic. For the last 15 years or so my Ramadan has been strongly connected to my local mosque; I would normally open my fast at home and then race to the mosque to spend a few hours in the congregational prayers. This is my first Ramadan in the midst of a worldwide pandemic as I am sure it is yours. It’s my first Ramadan in a very long time that will be spent entirely in my home. It’s strange that in some respects this will be a very different Ramadan for me but in many respects it is still the same. This is how I feel about the world right now. Everything has changed in the world around me but when I look out of my window everything is still the same.
Ramadan is never easy; at least I have never found it easy. My concentration levels are limited. I am tired most of the day, in the first few days especially I suffer from severe headaches and sometimes I am hungry from the moment I wake up! The hunger and thirst are very real. BUT I LOVE RAMADAN. I do. I love the peace and tranquillity of this month. I love the opportunity that I have to reconnect with God when I have spent so much of the past year too busy to think about my relationship with God, too busy in just chasing my life. And you know what? I am actually looking forward to being forced to stay at home. There will be no pressure on me to cater for or entertain any large gatherings, no pressure to get to the mosque early to get my place in the front row (if you go to the mosque you’ll understand – I always like to be in the front row). No pressure to invite friends and family and hold large iftar parties which also require me to clean the house from top to toe (because you can’t invite people round to a messy house). All of that pressure will be off and I can concentrate on nourishing my spirituality. I just wish it hadn’t taken a pandemic to get me to this point.
If any student is struggling with studying this month whilst fasting then I am happy to talk to you. Even as a child I remember thinking to myself ‘isn’t it nice that we are all eating at exactly the same time, all savouring that first bite of food in our own houses but exactly together’. So for any student that is struggling, I am with you as, insha’Allah, we begin this journey of ‘Ramadan in a Pandemic’ and I am very happy to talk to you and offer you support.
Dr Rehana Parveen
Birmingham Law School