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Expert comment - a socially-distant Ramadan

"Millions of Muslims across the globe are joyous about the arrival of Ramadhan, a special month for renewing our sense of belonging to a spiritual community marked by collective prayers, study circles and gathering around Iftar dinners and predawn meals with family and friends. However, this year most of these activities will take place virtually. There is a deep feeling of sadness across the communities that Covid-19 takes away the social dimension of Ramadhan as we observe the vital social distancing rules of staying at home. I suddenly discovered the wisdom in the well-established Islamic teaching telling us to always prioritise facilitating the ‘prevention of common harm’ to the wellbeing of all.

"Covid-19 has hit hard particularly the most vulnerable communities; the elderly, minorities, like Muslims, who are made up of large intergenerational families and people in refugee camps with basic utilities. Ramadhan, above all else, is a time for an education in self-giving and realising we are part of a larger reality where response to the ‘other’, whether it be the Divine or a vulnerable neighbour, take precedence.

"This year’s Ramadhan makes me discover a new sense of what it means to belong to a community. A prophetic wisdom in Islam says that ‘a person’s goodness lies in her or his willingness to be part of a community or bring people together as a community’. Ramadhan offers an opportunity to display this innate human goodness in joining the fight against this deadly virus as well as appreciating the sanctity of a fragile life that we are all gifted.

"Ramadhan Mubarak!"

Dr Abdullah Sahin

Reader in Islamic Education

Department for Education Studies

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Media Relations Manager

s.kiggins@warwick.ac.uk

07876 218166