As Muslims around the world prepare for the holy month of Ramadan under social distancing rules, the charity Islamic Relief UK is pushing ahead with its Ramadan appeal to support those who already face a daily fight for survival.
Recent calculations from the aid organisation show that for every £1 donated to the charity, 87p goes directly to helping people in need where it operates, in more than 40 countries around the world.
This year funds from the Ramadan appeal will prioritise projects that support communities with water, food and healthcare and those facing emergencies such as natural disasters or conflict.
Following social distancing guidelines, Islamic Relief will also distribute food parcels in 31 of the world’s poorest countries including Syria, Yemen, Bangladesh and Somalia.
Islamic Relief UK will also support vulnerable communities in the UK through partnerships with mosques and community groups across the country. One of these partners is Sufra, a foodbank and community hub in the London borough of Brent.
Tufail Hussain, Director of Islamic Relief UK, said:
When you donate to Islamic Relief, your money is in safe hands. For every £1 the charity spends, 87p goes directly to helping people in need, 4p goes to administrative costs and 9p goes to raising more funds. This means that for every £1 we receive, we raise nearly £10 more – meaning donations are almost doubled.
The coronavirus crisis has touched people of all faiths and none, across the world, and it is the most vulnerable communities who will bear the brunt of it.
Ramadan is a time for British Muslims to thank Allah for our good fortune and to reflect on those less fortunate than ourselves. In this current crisis with so many communities coming together to help one another, your zakat will help make a difference to the most needy, and is safe with Islamic Relief.
New guidance on safe religious practice
With the Holy month in mind, Islamic Relief has issued guidance on adapting Islamic religious practices to the coronavirus crisis, in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly virus in Muslim communities around the world.
Developed in partnership with the British Board of Scholars and Imams (BBSI), the guidance provides faith-sensitive advice for communities including faith leaders, mosques, funeral workers, health professionals and chaplains as well as aid workers across the Muslim world.
The guidelines include information such as:
- Religious justifications for mosque closures during times of crisis;
- The religious obligation to self-isolate if one exhibits symptoms or is at risk;
- The safe adaptations to traditional Islamic burial practices that would better protect frontline workers;
- Spiritual counsel and consultation to the loved ones of those who pass away from Covid-19.
Atallah Fitzgibbon, Faith Partnership Advisor at Islamic Relief, said: ‘In times of crisis, religious practices can be adapted and we need to communicate this to keep people safe.
‘Islamic law, like humanitarian work, is based on the broader principle of ‘do no harm.’’
Find out more about this guidance on the Islamic Relief Worldwide website.
What is Ramadan?
For Muslims across the globe, the holy month of Ramadan is a sacred time for worshipping Allah, (God). This period offers an opportunity for devotion, reflection and celebration of the mercy and love of Allah.
During this period, healthy adult Muslims will show this devotion through fasting from dawn until dusk. Other acts of worship such as prayer, reading the Qu’ran and charity are also encouraged during the holy month. It is also a time when people give Zakat.
You can find out more about Ramadan on the Islamic Relief UK website.
What is Zakat?
Zakat, or almsgiving, is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with prayer, fasting, pilgrimage (Hajj) and belief in Allah. For every healthy adult Muslim who owns wealth over a certain amount – known as the nisab – he or she must pay 2.5% of that wealth as Zakat.
You can find out more about Zakat including answers to frequently asked questions here.
When is Ramadan this year?
As the Islamic calendar is based around the lunar cycle, the Holy month of Ramadan rotates by approximately ten days each year.
The beginning of the blessed month of Ramadan will be confirmed upon sighting of the new moon. However, Islamic Relief UK and the East London Mosque expect this to be on Thursday 23 April 2020.
You can find prayer timetables for the Ramadan period, for London and other major cities across the UK, on the Islamic Relief UK website.
About Islamic Relief
Islamic Relief is a faith-inspired, development and humanitarian agency working to transform and save the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in over 40 countries. Islamic Relief assists people according to need and does not discriminate in any way.
Set up in Birmingham in 1984 by a group of volunteers, we have assisted over 117 million people all over the world. We’re saving lives and empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty in over 40 countries – from Bangladesh to Bosnia, Pakistan to Palestine, Kenya to Kosovo. Islamic Relief is on the ground in some of the world’s most dangerous and difficult places – including Syria and Yemen – strengthening the most marginalised communities to withstand conflict and natural disasters and to build a brighter future. We also support vulnerable people in the UK in partnership with local charities and organisations.
Islamic Relief UK is part of the Islamic Relief Worldwide network.
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