Welcome back. I hope that you had a decent break over the Easter period, whatever that was and however much you got. The weather didn’t quite ‘hit the spot’ but there’s enough spring warmth to keep us going. Equally, I hope that the return to work has been positive and enjoyable.
Today (Friday), with a significant proportion of our pupils, students, staff and community, we mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr. Eid Mubarak. And I very much hope that the day, and next few days are something of a quiet celebration, alongside the necessary spiritual reflections. In addition, I know that Meadowhall may well see quite a number of our children and young people enjoying spending their Eid money. Take care all! Spend wisely, shop with prudence.
As Ramadan has drawn to a conclusion with it we come to end the month of sustained fasting. It is important to reflect upon the intentions of this holy month. Ramadan does not aim to deliver hunger, thirst and sensual deprivation, more subtly, it does seek to furnish believers with a greater awareness of their faith and their devotion. It is a tough month. Abstinence during daylight hours is incredibly difficult at any time but it is always more difficult when the days are longer and the weather is warmer.
It’s interesting how, in these days, division and difference can be emphasised by those who choose those traits over cohesion and contemplation. For millennia the English language has noted the first meal after waking as breakfast or break-fast. Eid al-Fitr actually means “festival of the breaking of the fast”. We see through that use of language the commonality of our cultural approaches. Something that may be lost on some.
And as with the celebrations of the Easter weekend the celebration of Eid al-Fitr is a period of time where families and friends come together to share food and spend time together reflecting and celebrating. It’s also a time when all Muslims are obliged to offer Zakat. Zakat is charity or giving and many Muslims will end the period of Ramadan and celebrate Eid al-Fitr by giving food to others and by offering significant payments to charitable organisations. Some Muslims will give up to 10% of their annual wealth in Zakat, others will give something to the community. The amount and value are not relevant, it is the obligation to contribute which is most important.
‘Charity begins at home, but should not end there’. Thomas Fuller
We stand together in this community, whether you have a particular faith; be that Christianity, Islam or any other faith or whether you are somebody without necessarily having a spiritual dimension to your lives. We are all part of something greater and we behave in a supportive and respectful manner towards each other.