Ramadan 2021 is expected to start on 12 or 13 April, depending on the sighting of the new moon. This year, The Muslim Council of Britain has produced useful guidance about making the most of this holy month of the Islamic lunar calendar, while staying safe from COVID-19 and protecting loved ones.
Muslims observing Ramadan fast between dawn and sunset each day and increase spiritual devotional acts such as prayer, giving to charity and strengthening family ties. Eid-Ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and is expected to be around 12 or 13 May.
Whilst coronavirus restrictions are being eased, many of the usual practices normally observed, such as going to the mosque for iftar (communal breaking of the fast) and visiting friends and family indoors, will sadly still not be possible this year.
While we remain at a critical point in the road map out of lockdown, the mixing of households is not yet permitted indoors. Visits to places of communal worship or prayer are permitted, but COVID-safe precautions are essential in preventing transmission of the virus. Attendee numbers should be carefully managed, especially in relation to more vulnerable age groups, and access to communal washing and drinking facilities should be restricted or disallowed. Everyone must adhere to social distancing guidelines, apply sound hygiene practices and wear a face-covering, unless exempt, to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Muslim Council of Britain has released helpful advice and information on how to safely continue the traditions and community spirit of Ramadan. This includes guidance about visiting mosques, top tips for observing Ramadan at home, including home and virtual iftars, guidance about fasting and COVID-19 vaccinations, and advice about working and studying from home.
Cllr Paul Bettison OBE, Leader of Bracknell Forest Council, said:
“Ramadan Mubarak to our Muslim communities. May this holy time bring you peace and good health.
“Unfortunately, for a second year running, Ramadan will be a very different experience for our Muslim communities. However, it is important that the advice of The Muslim Council of Britain is followed. This includes carefully planning your Ramadan activities from home to ensure you and your families stay safe and gain maximum benefit from the month.
“If warmer weather permits, and you are planning to meet up outside to enjoy Iftars together, please adhere to the rules that came into effect on Monday, 29 March. Up to six people or two households can meet outdoors, including in private gardens, but you must keep at least two metres apart.
“Ramadan is a special time of the year for our Muslim communities but being unable to observe certain practices due to COVID-19 restrictions may lead to increased anxiety. For anyone struggling, we’d recommend looking at The Muslim Council of Britain’s guidance about maintaining mental and physical health during Ramadan. There is also help on our website, for residents who are struggling during the pandemic.
“We hope this guidance will help our Muslim communities make the most of the blessed month.”