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The month of giving

We are half way through the month of Ramadan - the holy month when over one billion Muslims around the world fast and focus their attention on giving to charity, known as Zakat. 

During Ramadan, both fasting and acts of charity are obligatory for all Muslims who are able to do so. Fasting (no food or water) from sunrise to sunset represents a spiritual cleansing; an effort to become closer to God and an attempt to gain a better understanding of human suffering. The daily routine during this month helps me focus on the principles of generosity, discipline, honesty, selflessness, tolerance and sacrifice. It also helps me reflect upon, and show compassion for, the less fortunate. 

Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam and, as a result, during Ramadan there is much charitable giving by the community. It is estimated by the Muslim Charities Forum that British Muslims gave approximately £100 million to charitable causes during the month of Ramadan in 2016 – almost £38 a second! Donations are usually focused on giving to those suffering from poverty and hunger and much is distributed to international causes. I don’t recall seeing much in the media about this positive side of Islam.

I like to advocate on behalf of the UK-based causes. How many of us consider donating during Ramadan to our local causes –homelessness, mental health, employability projects, work with offenders/ex-offenders or mentoring programmes? This year I have decided to allocate my donation as a 50/50 split between international causes and a local cause.  

For those of us working in the charity sector perhaps it’s time we started making the ask for donations to Muslims during the month of Ramadan.

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