This Ramadan we'll be releasing a series of #HealthyRamadanLockdown films across the month, that provide spiritual and medical guidance on approaching Ramadan and fasting during this Covid-19 outbreak. You can watch the first episode here.
Lockdown means that Ramadan will be very different for all of us this year, but if we follow appropriate medical and religious advice - as with every other year - it can still be a month full of blessings.
We know that the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown context have raised different questions around how to approach Ramadan this year - both from a medical and spiritual perspective.
Through these short films we'll be addressing some concerns and questions, and offering practical advice from both imams and health practitioners around particular health conditions such as diabetes and heart conditions, as well as the basics of health during Ramadan, and mental health and wellbeing. We'll also be providing guidance and resources around conducting Islamic burials, as unfortunately we know that Covid 19 has had significant impacts on how burials and funeral rituals can take place.
There is a lot of misinformation circulating - the government’s failure to produce accessible information for communities has meant people are too scared to go to A&E or contact their GP when they need to. The doctors featured on our films are putting out the message that it's important to still contact your GP or go to A&E if you feel unwell.
We know from our award winning health resources that medical advice combined with spiritual and cultural advice is more likely to resonate with and reach communities and make sense in the context of people’s every day lives.
The Covid 19 pandemic has magnified existing social inequalities. Despite only making up 14% of the British population, black and brown communities account for one third of critically ill coronvirus patients in hospital. A significant proportion of Muslim communities live in deprived inner-city areas, and Muslims surpass all other faith groups in levels of economic inactivity, ill health and poor housing conditions.
The government’s current policies on rented accommodation have been undermining public health and renters safety as the pressure to continue paying rent means that many are forced to leave the house to work - putting themselves and their households at risk. This disproportionately affects Muslim communities who we know are more likely to live in working class communities in dense cities where multiple generations live together.
Government figures show that 30% of the UK Bangladeshi population are considered to live in overcrowded housing compared with 2% among the white British population. 15% of black African and Arab communities also live in overcrowded conditions, as do 16% of Pakistanis. Many Muslims are also working through the crisis on the front lines as health workers, care workers, in local shops or in the transport sector. With Ramadan here, we want to make sure that communities have the advice and the support that they need - in the context of these very unusual and unpredictable circumstances.
What We Did
We'll be releasing five films over the course of Ramadan and each film will be translated into Sylheti, Urdu and Somali.
For further resources and advice on a #HealthyRamadanLockdown, check out the Maslaha blog which we’ll be updating throughout Ramadan with resources on wellbeing, keeping fit, cultivating community during Ramadan and interesting online events and talks.
With thanks to the doctors and imams involved in the films including:
Imam Yunus Dudhwala - Head of Chaplaincy & Bereavement at Barts Health NHS Trust
Dr. Ameen Kamlana
Dr. Melek Akay
Dr. Fadumo Omar Mohammed
Abbas Mirza, Community Engagement Programme Lead, Barts NHS Trust
The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) for their input into the medical and Islamic advice featured on the films.