BIG #ShareRamadan

March 18 2015…

I noticed this video by @ShareRamadan

I reflected and thought, what a wonderful idea.

So on June 19 2015- I tweeted…

I believe the amazing Stephen Tierney was the first to respond with telling me he will share ramadan with me.

I wrote a blog on the old platform StaffRM inviting my Twitter ‘friends/ colleagues/ acquaintances’ to join me for a day of fasting. A few people responded and wanted to participate. I was blown away by the response.

(A special shout out to Lisa here who once celebrated the entire month with us, I was fortunate enough to open a fast together with her too.)

In real life we have always had ‘cultural’ Iftars where lots of people of different faiths came together to open our fasts together! We made it a big deal. It is a big deal. If it wasn’t lock down, I would have hosted a BIG IFTAR together. Watch this space for next year!

ShareRamadan
Image by @ShareRamadan

Move forward 5 years later and today I am hosting BIG #ShareRamadan, where instead of people picking a day across the 30 days, I designated today, Saturday 9th May for everybody to join in together for a day of fasting and reflection.

I asked lots of fellow Muslims from my Personal Learning Network to ‘help’ by tweeting, sharing and getting involved. There was a fantastic response! The hashtag was trending almost the entire day.

Then I reflected on this ‘idea’ and how much I have been going ‘on’ about it.

So I did some digging.

I found;

I wrote a blog May 25 2017 – United We Are Stronger.

I wrote this for @SchoolsWeek in 2018 too- about how schools can help students during Ramadan.

I have written threads about what teachers can do for their students. Which has no doubt sparked many conversations between people!

I have encouraged people to say Ramadan Mubarak/Kareem for example to their colleagues and students.

All because, nobody did this for me when I was a student, nobody knew how difficult it was to keep playing for the school footy/cricket and rugby team whilst fasting. Literally, nobody but my other fellow Muslims. I thought thats just the way it is.

I want to help change that for others…

With this in my mind I have shared ready made Assemblies for colleagues to use to explain what Ramadan is with their colleagues and students.

Click here for yours if you like!

I have encouraged others to share their faiths with the world, and allow me to learn about their faiths too. This is not just about *MY* faith!

Screenshot 2020-05-09 at 12.05.37

BUT Why?

Why is it important for people to know about (my) faith, to understand what we do?

It all spans back to September 11 2001 when effectively everything about my existence changed for me, with people, in the media and in the workforce.

I have long been an advocate of showing us ‘Muslims in a good light!’ But I will NEVER apologise for some ‘Muslims’ bad actions and bad deeds. I don’t own the Muslim faith. Nobody does.

I wrote this blog explaining the above tweet then too. I was blown away by the response I got by people. I cried that evening.

So why today, why am I still going on about this?

Essentially, because a shared view on things helps:

  • You grow– it helps me grow too, I have connected with more fellow Muslims, I have followed me, I have talked to more, I miss this interaction in my life at times.
  • Stay motivated– The joint solidarity makes the struggle of Ramadan easier.
  • Gain recognition– People understand how difficult it really is!
  • Generates new ideas- How to overcome some things and cook others etc!
  • Fills gaps in knowledge– This is vital for me, lots of opinions can help diversify our thoughts!
  • Builds teams- faith or not, we are one human race.
  • Reminds us of our purpose. Simple.

 

One of the biggest, best things about all of this time and energy going in to these blogs, tweets etc is that more and more Muslims are becoming more and more confident in sharing their faith and their messages to others.

Also, NEVER have I witnessed or others experienced so many non- Muslims saying, tweeting and expressing Ramadan Mubarak to us before.

This is changing the current narrative, and re-writing history.

 

 

I hope you have found BIG #SHARERamadan useful and you can spread kindness further and challenge when and if anybody bad mouths Islam or Muslims by saying, you know me, you know US.

If you have SHARED Ramadan with me or colleagues before or part of BIG #SHARERamadan today please can you write a quote about what you have learnt, what this means to you and how you will take this forward in the Padlet below.

Just double click anywhere, it will save automatically!

Made with Padlet

We have another BIG #SHARERamadan being planned for Saturday 16th of May- Click here for more details!

7 comments

  1. Nice little read. My friend who’s chairs @Myriad_F started it off in our school about 4 years ago and have been doing it ever since. I left that school we worked at together and was planning on doing it at my new school. I’m glad that I’ve managed to help out a little with this online one though, it’s been nice to see different people get involved and so much of what you said in your blog resonated with me 👍🏼

  2. Nice little read. My friend Ali Mahmood is the Chairman at Myriad Foundation @Myriad_F and introduced this off in our school about 4 years ago and I have been doing it ever since. I left the school that we worked at together but the spirit of #ShareRamadan remains. I was planning on doing it at my new school this year but that couldn’t happen. I’m glad that I’ve managed to help out a little with this online one though. It’s been nice to see different people get involved and so much of what you said in your blog resonates with me 👍🏼

  3. Lived in Cairo for a few years and tried to do it with the students but rarely survived all the way to iftar. The food bit was not too bad. No drinking was a stretch too far often. I learned a great deal about faith.

  4. Fasting today was really interesting; For me this was not a ritualistic experience although the practice did bring me closer to a spiritual plane (as per the Sanatan dharma).

    I know there is an element where people fast to bring them empathy with those who are struggling, however for me the fast was about Introspection. The food was not and issue but nor was the water – the sanctity of thought was however challenging. Let me write a Longer blog piece on this .

  5. Thank you to Amjad Ali for inviting us to share Ramadan yesterday. I have a few comments. I hope I will not sound pompous. I see the day as a series of opportunities:

    To remember my gratitude that I have enough to eat.
    To learn new vocabulary and the meanings of words.
    To share a new experience with my husband who decided to join in the Ramadan fast with me. We drank water and ate our evening meal a little earlier than the Iftar time, but have no qualms about that. In winter, I might fast for the proper amount of time.
    To remember the joy of a simple glass of water with a bit of orange juice squeezed in it.
    To remember the need to plan sometimes and not always just go with the flow. Next time I fast, I will think more clearly about sleeping and waking times, what I will do during a day of abstinence from food and drink, what I will eat and when I will prepare it.
    To remind myself of the significance of food and water in my own religion – Buddhism. Sharing Ramadan has led me to re-read, study and think about a bit more about my own practices. Next time I fast I will give a special clean to the water pot on my Buddhist altar, and will offer some special fruit.
    To remember what Sadhguru (he is Hindu, not Muslim or Buddhist) says about our obsessions with eating – that we don’t need to eat 3 meals a day in order to be healthy or if we have health problems, we can do a day’s work and eat in the evening. It is good to know what an empty stomach feels like. It is good for our bodily health to have an empty stomach for some hours each day. He likes to eat once a day and not worry about the (large) quantity! I am allegedly type-2 diabetic, and wondered whether I would have a funny turn, in the heat, with no food or water. I was perfectly fine apart from an aching eye headache in the afternoon. That passed within minutes after a drink of water.
    To realise that Ramadan is not just about food and food ‘laws’. I read that it also means abstaining from arguing and sarcasm – these I often find hard to do without, but having them proscribed made it easier. Sometimes even I enjoy a bit of being told what to do! Minding my tongue will probably be what stays with me the longest.
    To meet new people (on Twitter) and share the day with them – thank you all for your infinite kindness and encouragement.

    I appreciate the realisation, too, that whilst it is cool for many to say that all religion is evil, it actually isn’t. I love the reinforcing of the fact that for many many people, being religious, religious observance, is an ordinary thing, a shared and intrinsic aspect of being human and not to be ashamed of or embarrassed about or fight over. The more we mingle and share our lives with people we think are different from us, the more we learn how similar we all are. I hope more and more Muslims will feel confident to share friendship with people of other faiths and none, and vice versa. All religions have rituals and activities to do with food and drink. Most have fasting.

    I will fast again.

  6. Thank you to Amjad Ali for inviting me to #ShareRamadan. I have been fasting for a long time, but knowing that other people were joining yesterday gave my spirits buoyancy. Thank you to all who participated!!

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