Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and a period of great charitable giving, is only three months away and will start on or around 23rd April 2020, depending on moon sightings.
The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar calendar, meaning the month of Ramadan begins roughly ten days earlier every year! Give or take a day. I know, it’s not convenient!
Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims around the world. It’s also the month in which the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). It’s a month of fasting during daylight hours (sunrise to sunset- which means a long day in the summer!).
It’s a time when Muslims immerse themselves in worship, renewing their relationship with God, taking accountability of your actions, reflection, reading and pondering over the verses of the Quran, visiting the Mosque, changing your habits into everything good, the community coming together, building bridges within themselves and their faith. Basically an internal MOT!
What?! Not even water?!
Muslims all over the world will go without food and water during the hours of daylight for 30 days, cleansing the soul, the body and connecting to God. And that’s right, not even water!
Ramadan will finish and its end is celebrated with the day of Eid, where families and loved ones will go to the mosque in the morning to pray in congregation, come home and enjoy a festive meal (basically feast all day!), exchange gifts and memories.
And fortunately, there are no fights! I know you must think, everyone is too tired and grumpy after 30 days without food, water and praying all night! And of course feasting all day on Eid!
But seriously, the exact opposite, every day in Ramadan is a time of focus, purpose, reflection, worship, family, community and charity.
And the day of Eid is all about food, family, fun and forgiveness.
Oh! And did I say, it’s the month of charity?!
Oh yes, it’s the BIG ONE!
Muslims donate a lot more during the month Ramadan, especially the last 10 nights of the blessed month, due to extra rewards of giving charity during this month!
From 23rd April 2020, Muslims in the UK will donate at a minimum rate of £38 per second, every day, for 30 days, during the month of Ramadan. That’s equivalent to £100m plus over the month!
But, how much of that £38 per second will your charity benefit from? Zero. Unless you are Ramadan-ready!
10 tips for charities on being Ramadan-ready
Here are my ten tips for charities to be Ramadan-ready:
1. Acquire an understanding of Islam and Muslims. Without a good grasp of the faith, its foundations, the followers, you will struggle to engage with the UK’s most generous faith community.
2. Stats, stats, stats and stats! Review the demographics, the facts, the figures, the trends, the dos, the don’ts, the opportunities, the platforms, the means, the methods!
3. Charitable giving during Ramadan is accelerated due to mass rewards of doing good during this period. Charity in Islam has different facets including compulsorily almsgiving (Zakat), general charity (Sadaqah), ongoing charity (Sadaqah Jaariyah), endowments (Waqf), wills and legacy.
Get to know the difference. Understand charity in Islam, Zakat, the 2.5% ruling! It’s a bit like algebra!
4. Reflect on Ramadan. What is Ramadan? What happens? Where? When? How? Understand and live the concept. What will Muslims be doing at 2am in the morning, 9pm in the evening, 11pm at night, all day? all night? for 30 days!
5. Review and match your cause and projects with the different types of charitable giving so you understand your target ask. Muslims are now diversifying their donations from UK based causes to overseas aid. Are your projects Zakat compliant? If not, can you still engage? Yes you can! Target general charity instead.
6. Design, test, engage your campaign, ask, activity and material before Ramadan, with those you are connected to internally, donors, the Muslim community and sector. Think of partnerships opportunities. Bring in specialised resources to ensure you get it right.
Ooh! And have you thought about the Zakat calculator?
7. Be clear on your expectations in a crowded marketplace. Unless you engage all year round, Ramadan will be tough. Develop an integrated strategy within your overall year and activity plan. It’s like Christmas, if you’re not on the scene all year round, you won’t be invited to the parrrttttyyyy!
8. Think of activities beyond fundraising:
- Get colleagues to fast
- Think about those fasting
- Give something up
- Organise an iftar
- Visit a mosque
- Develop Ramadan recipes
- Run a challenge
- Think about gifts and cards on Eid for your Muslim stakeholders
- Create a prayer space
- Change the working hours for colleagues who are fasting
- Watch, read and listen to the Muslim channels online, press and on TV.
- Leave room for colleagues to tell you when Ramadan and Eid are, as every year is different – I know, it’s not convenient like Christmas, same day every year, I mean that’s just boring!
9. Develop synergy, relationships and partnerships, with Muslim supporters, friends, donors, charities and advisors! Like me! Get a panel of Muslims together perhaps? Muslims love talking about Islam and Ramadan!
10. Finally! Get to know the key words:
- Allah – the Arabic word for God, meaning “the one”
- Islam – the faith established by the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). Basically Islam means peace.
- Muslims – the followers of Islam and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him)
- Quran – the Book of Islam, the Word of God, read and followed by Muslims
- Ramadan – the ninth month of the Islamic calendar in which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) and is the month of fasting
- Ramadan mubarak/kareem – have a blessed/ happy Ramadan
- Iftar – fast breaking meal. It is common for this to be taken with family and friends. (9pm depending on location in the UK)
- Suhoor – pre-dawn meal (2-3am depending on location in the UK)
- Zakat – almsgiving on assets and wealth to support those in need and worthy causes
- Sadaqah – general charity
- Masjid (mosque) – place of community and worship in the Muslim community
- Tarawih – extra prayers offered every night during Ramadan in the masjid
- Jummah – prayers offered in congregation on a Friday in the masjid around 2pm-3pm in the summer months. 1-2pm during the winter months.
- Eid ul fitr – celebration held at the end of Ramadan
- Eid ul adha – Celebrating the Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Makkah), two months or so after Ramada. Yes there are two Eids! Lucky us!
- Dates – A popular and traditional food to break the fast together with milk or water.
- Samosa – Muslims will overeat in a month of fasting! Food is the key to happiness in this month! Some of the best feasts your eyes will lay, well, eyes on…
- Pakora – see above! Seriously, many Muslims will focus on their physical well-being as well as their spiritual development with specific Ramadan goals on diet, intake and being able to maintain their fast effectively.
- Moon wars – long-standing tradition, a bit like the Old Firm, Merseyside and Manchester derbies rolled into one evening. Basically Mosques claiming they saw the whole of the moon while others claim it’s not possible on that given evening!
When is Ramadan?
The dates – get it? (Pardon the pun!)
Ramadan: On or around 23rd April to 23rd May 2020
Eid: On or around 24th May 2020.
Fasted, sorry drafted, by Na’eem Raza.
For further knowledge and training on Ramadan visit www.muslimtraining.co.uk
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