Sheikh Michael Mumisa
Millions of Muslims in Britain and across the world will be observing the month of fasting known as Ramadan. According to the Qur’an, fasting is an act of worship that was prescribed by God in different forms to Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other Biblical Prophets before Muhammad. So Muslims believe that fasting is one of the ways through which they affirm their connection with traditions going back to Abraham.
Ramadan isalso the month of charity and giving and, for many Muslims, a way of experiencing how the less fortunate among us feel when they go without food. Yet, this way of thinking about fasting and poverty has the potential to turn what for many people are genuine hardships in their daily lives into a pious religious ideal. Poverty is much more than just lack of food. It is also about lack of access to decent education, healthcare, housing, and fundamental human rights. The poor of any society, no matter how developed, are often the most vulnerable to fall victim to human rights abuses.
These are particularly very hard times for many. Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and many others have been operating food banks up and down the country. We hope and pray that we will remain steadfast in our struggles against poverty and social injustices alongside people from other faiths and those of no particular faith. We pray for the wisdom to work together towards removing the structures and systems of our society that create and perpetuate poverty.
In the words of Muhammad: “O Lord! Bring us the new moon with security and peace, and in harmony with what you love. May those who are fasting break their fast under your mercy.” Amen.