Ramadan 2021: Ilford Muslim Society trustee on observing holy month

Bashir Patel, interview with Recorder on Ramadan

The first in a series of interviews with Muslims across Redbridge to hear how they are observing the holy month of Ramadan is with Bashir Patel, trustee of Ilford Muslim Society and a chairman of FORMO's panel. - Credit: Bashir Patel

As part of a series on Ramadan, we caught up with some Muslims across Redbridge to see how they are observing the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.

Ramadan is the Arabic name for the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and runs from April 13 until May 12 this year.

While last year's Ramadan fell during the first lockdown and mosques were closed, this time around they are open but with some restrictions in place. 

First up in our series is Bashir Patel, a trustee at the Ilford Muslim Society and a chairman of the Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (FORMO) panel. 

What is the importance of Ramadan to you?
It’s a time that helps me practice self-discipline, self-control and sacrifice, but also a time when I make time to be more spiritual and show empathy for those who are less fortunate. For me, Ramadan is when I distribute compulsory charity (zakat).
How would you explain to a non-Muslim how important Ramadan is for Muslims?

It is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is an obligation for every adult and healthy Muslim to fast during the month of Ramadan.

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It was in Ramadan that the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad PBUH. 
What are you doing to celebrate Ramadan this year? 
Spending more time in prayer, reading the Quran more and being more charitable and of course lots of dates and samosas! 
Have you been limited in how you can celebrate this year due to some restrictions still being in place?
Yes, not being able to invite friends and family for Iftar has lost some of the atmosphere. 
How has this Ramadan compared to last year when we were under full lockdown?
Last year we were in full lockdown and places of worship were closed so this year mosques being open has made a huge difference. 
The BAME and Muslim community have been badly impacted by Covid-19 - have you lost any family members or friends who you might have seen or celebrated Ramadan with this year?
My father was seriously ill with Covid and in hospital for over a month but with the will of Allah he has made a remarkable recovery. 

However we have lost many people from the community, people I used to see daily at the mosque, family friends.

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