Muslims in Tower Hamlets are being encouraged to have a healthy, safe and peaceful Ramadan. Ramadan is one of the most important events of the Islamic calendar as it is a time for fasting, praying, forgiveness and purification.
This year, Ramadan starts on or around 16 May and lasts until around 15 June.
Mayor John Biggs said: “During this holy month of Ramadan, my thoughts are with all of the Muslim residents in Tower Hamlets and beyond.
During the long summer days, Muslims across Tower Hamlets will find strength through devotion to fulfill one of the five pillars of their religion.
Ramadan is not just about fasting, it is much more than that, it is a time when Muslims purify the soul, embrace self-discipline and sacrifice to help others who are less fortunate.
Mosques in the borough will open their doors and invite people to join them. I look forward to joining many of the Iftar celebrations over the next few weeks.
I wish everyone observing Ramadan peace, harmony and success. Ramadan Mubarak.”
Adults are required to fast from dawn to sunset, but those in poor health or who have deteriorating health, the very elderly and mothers who are breastfeeding are exempt from doing so.
The council and health partners advise those observing a fast to maintain a balanced diet by including a variety of healthy foods in meals, avoid eating too many sweets or deep fried snacks and prior to fasting, to drink plenty of water to keep well hydrated.
In preparation for Ramadan, people with long-term health conditions such as diabetes are advised to speak to their GP to understand if fasting will impact on their condition, how to manage their medication and what they can do to prevent any adverse reactions.
Barts Health NHS Trust has joined forces with local Muslim religious leaders to encourage residents to have a healthy and safe Ramadan.
Imam Faruq Siddiqi, Muslim Chaplain at Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “Ramadan is a very important spiritual month for Muslims and fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam that is practiced during the month. Although everyone will want to fast, patients who suffer from any chronic illness or health complication should consult their health professional prior to fasting, to see if they can do so safely during Ramadan.
“Remember that Islam enables you to avoid fasting if your health is likely to deteriorate and it will be un-Islamic to make your health worse due to fasting.”
Mile End Leisure Centre will be extending its opening hours during Ramadan to accommodate residents who will be fasting over the next month. Gym goers can visit the leisure centre between the hours of 6am and 1am during Ramadan.
This is the third year the council has run the extended opening scheme with GLL, who run our leisure centres.
The Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education in Tower Hamlets, with the support of the Tower Hamlets Council on Mosques, has issued guidance to schools about how to help students during the fasting period, including those sitting exams.