Guidance for Ramadan
The following guidance was published to support staff and students observing Ramadan in 2023. It was written by the Faith Centre's Imam Rashid and was last updated on 21 March 2023.
Please check back for updated guidance in March 2024.
Fasting is an integral part of religious life, discipline, and an experience of many faiths. Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. For Muslims, Ramadan is a very spiritual month; it is a month of special blessings, love, and care for others. During this month, Muslims around the globe will be fasting and showing extra kindness to those who are less fortunate.
As well as becoming more God-conscious, which results in suppressing the desires for food, drink, and sexual activity, staying hungry builds empathy for those less fortunate, who are deprived of food and drink for days on end. This empathy will motivate the fasting person to take extra steps in looking after loved ones and those in need by supporting them in their time of need.
Ramadan 2023 will commence after sunset on Wednesday 22 March and will continue for 30 days until Friday 21 or Saturday 22 April (subject to lunar observation). The festival of Eid al-Fitr 2023 will be celebrated on Friday 21 or Saturday 22 April (subject to lunar observation). Note that in the Muslim calendar, a day begins on the sunset of the previous day, so practicing Muslims will begin observing Ramadan on the sunset of Tuesday 21 or Wednesday 22 March 2023. After the completion of Ramadan, the next day will be celebrated as Eid-ul-Fitr.
Faith Centre opening hours
The Faith Centre opening hours will be extended to accommodate more prayers for the holy month of Ramadan and attendees will need a current valid University ID to gain access to the Faith Centre as it is swipe access only. The opening times from Tuesday 21 March are:
- Monday-Friday: 08:30-23:00
- Saturday 25 March: 17:30-23:00
The Faith Centre will be open 18:30-23:00 only during all other weekend days during Ramadan. Please note that the Faith Centre will be closed alongside other University buildings during the day on Good Friday (7 April).
Fasting and Iftar (breaking of the fast) in Ramadan
Traditionally, Muslims open their fast in the evening with dates and water. This is called Iftaar (breaking of the fast). These will be provided and will be available daily to staff and students in the Faith Centre before Maghrib (sunset) prayer.
Students may bring their own full Iftar to have in the social space on the first floor of the Faith Centre after Maghrib prayer.
Occasionally, some staff and students may bring Iftaars to share with all at the Faith Centre and Imam Rashid, our Muslim Chaplain will provide Zamzam (holy water) and dates when he attends the first 14 Iftaars. After this, he will entrust volunteers to serve Zamzam and dates daily in his absence. No collective or individual Suhur (pre-dawn meal) will be taking place at the Faith Centre
Staff and students of all religious backgrounds, beliefs or none are welcome to attend the Faith Centre over this period to participate in the Iftaars (breaking of the fast), explore, observe, or simply come and ask questions.
The following are exempted from fasting:
Those who are travelling
Sick people with unmanageable diabetes
People who are ill (physically or mentally)
People with incurable diseases
People with unmanageable chronic diseases
Further exemptions and details: Category: Fasting | Islamic Portal
Daily prayers in Ramadan
The Faith Centre opening times will be extended to accommodate daily Maghrib, Isha and Tarawih prayer. The option to offer all daytime prayers in congregation during Monday-Friday will be available except during the extended Easter weekend and the option to offer evening prayers in congregation will be available during the weekends.
Staff and students will need University ID as the building will be swipe access only. Please be courteous to our security staff and leave promptly for building closure.
Multiple Friday prayers (Jumuah) will take place at the Faith Centre for staff and students only and one Friday only during the three week Easter break. The Faith Centre will be closed alongside other University buildings during the day on Good Friday (7 April), thus Friday prayer will not take place at the Faith Centre on this date. Please see the Ramadan Prayer Timetable for precise prayer times.
You will be required to bring and show your University ID to access the building. Stewards may be present at Jumuah alongside Imam Rashid, our Muslim Chaplain, to ask attendees to show their ID. Attendees will be requested to co-operate and follow instructions given by Imam Rashid and the stewards.
Ramadan – Prayer timetable for Beginning Times
Please see the Ramadan 2023 Prayer Timetable.
Taraweeh Salah (late night prayers) in Ramadan
Taraweeh Salah will take place at the Faith Centre for staff and students only and the Faith Centre will close promptly after Taraweeh at 23:00 daily. Taraweeh can also be performed in congregation in a local mosque.
The Huffaaz (people who have memorised the Qur'an by heart) who led the Taraweeh in 2022 may continue from where they had read up to in 2022 in Taraweeh at the Faith Centre. The recitation of Surah Maidah (chapter five) and Surah Anaa'm (chapter six) was completed therefore, the Huffaz may want to continue starting with Surah A'araaf (chapter seven).
Simple guidelines for Taraweeh Salah:
- Local mosques may vary amount of recitation and length of the prayer and this is understandable.
- Where possible, Taraweeh Salah should be offered in Jama'at (congregation).
- Those who are not Haafiz may read whatever they are able to, such as the last Surahs (chapters) of the Qur'an ie. from Surah Feel to Surah Naas.
Eid -ul- Fitr prayers will take place for staff and students only on the first of Shawwaal: Friday 21 or Saturday 22 April, depending on moonsighting, at the Faith Centre at 10:00.
The Faith Centre will open at 08:30 on Friday 21 April and at 09:30 if Eid is on Saturday 22 April. The attendees will be required to bring and show their University ID to access the building.
Importance of a daily schedule in Ramadan
To maximise the reward of Ramadan it is important to develop a daily itinerary and it is advisable to incorporate some of the below therein:
Ramadan is the month of Qur’an, therefore try to recite the Qur’an as much as possible. Those at home should attempt to undertake more Qur’an completions during this month. It may be helpful to fix a time wherein the entire household recite the Qur’an
Those who are not ḥāfiẓ of the Qur’an should start to memorise it
Allocate up to 15 minutes after one of the Ṣalāh and share Islamic discourses from a reliable book or online resource with the entire family
Listen to one lecture a day of a reputable scholar via the Masjid receiver system or the internet. A speakers list is available on Islamic faith resources document
Recite Salat & Salaam (durūd/ salutations) upon the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) regularly. Scholars have mentioned that Salaat & Salam (durūd) is from among the most effective means of the removal of epidemics and plagues based on the ḥasan (agreeable) ḥadīth in Sunan al-Tirmidhī (2457) in which the Prophet ﷺ said to a companion who decided to dedicate all his supplication to durūd, “Then, your worries will be taken care of and your sins will be forgiven” (Mā Rawāhu al-Wāʿūn fī Akhbār al-Ṭāʿūn, p.169; Badhl al-Māʿūn, p.333).
Perform Tahajjud Ṣalāh and make duʿāʾ to Allah Almighty during the night and also between the Adhān and Iqāmah and whilst fasting. The supplication of a fasting person is accepted as mentioned in ḥadīths
Read the masnūn ifṭār supplications (Duas)
Repent to Allah Almighty and seek His forgiveness regularly. The Prophet ﷺ would repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness more than seventy times daily (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 6307)
Examinations and assessments in Ramadan - Fasting tips
- Ensure you are well rested the day before
- Prepare the night before and plan times in the day when you can rest
- Check the examination timetable carefully and avoid rushing around in the morning
- Have suhur (a pre-dawn meal) that is wholesome and filling in order to sustain energy for many hours. It is important to include slowly digested foods
- If the examination is in the morning, take a long rest in the afternoon if required
- If the examination is in the afternoon, take a short rest during the morning hours
- If you feel tired and sluggish, refresh yourself with wudhu (ritual ablution)
- Eat healthy when you break your fast (Iftaar) at the end of the day
- Drink lots of water between sunset and sunrise. It is good to sip small amounts whilst praying, doing revision, reading and other activities. This will keep you strong and hydrated for the following long fasting hours and will help prevent dehydration and headaches
- Limit all kinds of physical activities. Take the opportunity to rest when you can and try to avoid the dehydrating effects of sitting in hot sunshine or unnecessary exertion
- If your health is put at serious risk due to the fast, through possible dehydration or injury, you can break your fast. You can make up the broken fast at a later date when your health is better
Advice from the University Chaplain Imam Rashid Musa
There will be no restrictions this Ramadan compared to those Ramadans when Covid-19 was at its peak. We will be able to enjoy the collective atmosphere of Ramadan which we are normally accustomed to at the time of Iftaar (breaking of the fast) and congregational prayers. In this regard, a Muslim's approach should be balanced between the following:
- We must constantly thank Allah for the opportunity and value it by maximising it and eagerly make duas (supplications) and beg Allah Ta'ala for continuous Aafiyah (ease/comfort/prosperity). We should admit to our weakness in the face of trials, and our desire not to be tested.
- We must express our resignation to, and be pleased with, whatever Allah Ta’ala has destined for us. There is always wisdom in whatever condition Allah Ta’ala places us in, and we do not have the knowledge to recognise the hidden benefits that lie in these outwardly adverse conditions. The submission to the Grand Plan of Allah Ta’ala is known as Radha bil Qadhaa (being pleased with the decree of Allah Ta’ala).
The above points reflect the approach Muslims should adopt in Ramadhan and at all times and in all conditions, whether favourable or unfavourable and finally, let us remind ourselves of the words of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him):
“Wondrous is the affair of a believer, as there is good for him in every matter; this is not the case for anyone but a believer. If he experiences pleasure, he thanks Allah and it is good for him. If he experiences harm, he shows patience and it is good for him.” (Sahih Muslim 2999)
We should feel positive this Ramadhan and take the opportunity of this blessed month to pray for all of humanity and for the world to become a safe place for all once again. Ameen.