Ramadan at the University of Buckingham

Ramadan in lockdown

29 May 2020

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan came to an end last week with many celebrations going virtual due to the coronavirus (Covid-19).

The fasting during the duration of the month is centred on feeding the spirituality within oneself. Although the physical aspect of fasting is to abstain from food, drink and other desires, from pre-dawn to sunset, the spirituality is attained by performing good actions, amongst them feeding people for the Iftar – the meal eaten after Sunset.

Here at Buckingham, Muslim students from all corners of the world observe the fasting of Ramadan, but are away from their families and communities. To revive a sense of community and make students feel more at home, the Islamic Society, with support from the Arab and Pakistani Societies, provided members who had remained on campus with a meal for their Iftar on the first and last Friday of the holy month. The meals were sponsored by alumnus Dean Miah, who requested that those receiving the meals extended their thoughts and prayers to those who have died as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Dean has also provided the means for the society to donate one Iftar each year for the next twenty years in memory of fellow alumnus Rami Makhzoumi.

President of the Islamic Society, Uzair Saleh explains;

‘Although we are facing a difficult time and have many changes which are alien to us, we have learnt to adapt and continue keeping our religious spirit within the confines of our homes – this is the biggest challenge we have faced.

Normally, Ramadan is a time spent in the mosques, which brings about a sense of a wider community. However, this year everything changed. We learnt to make temporary mosques out of our own homes, whilst the mosques remained closed. The response from our communities to adapt has been inspiring.’

Zohair Habib assisted with the sharing out of the meals, and noted how all the students he knew of were complying with lockdown regulations and staying within their rooms. He also said that the distribution process went smoothly and as per the rules of social distancing.

Society member Ahmed Nabil Bensedik commented; ‘With the lockdown, this year’s Ramadan has been different. There are fewer Iftars and people on campus. Hearing about the sponsored Iftars under our circumstances was a big surprise. It made me feel really happy, and nostalgic to the days before the pandemic.’

Uzair has also been running two online sessions a week for the society; One session is on study of the Hadith, a collection of traditions containing sayings and practices of the Prophet Muhammed (SAW), and another on studying the interpretation of the Quran.

Keep up to date with the Islamic Society on Facebook and Instagram.