I get up at 3am to eat. It teaches you to be a good person

Thousands are abstaining from food, drink and sex this month as they observe the month of Ramadan. Brent s Muslims, who make up 12.3 per cent of the borough s population, are fasting for a month, only eating at sunrise and sunset, writes Alex de Moller.

Thousands are abstaining from food, drink and sex this month as they observe the month of Ramadan.

Brent's Muslims, who make up 12.3 per cent of the borough's population, are fasting for a month, only eating at sunrise and sunset, writes Alex de Moller.

All Muslims must dedicate the month to restraint, prayer and charitable acts while ritual fasting, one of the pillars of Islam (Sawm) holds central importance.

Hijiri, the first day of


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Ramadan is marked by the crescent of a new moon, also symbolic in Islam, ending after a full lunar month with the festival of Eid-Al-Fitr.

Abdul Sattar-Butt, of the Brent Muslim Association said: "Ramadan is one of our core beliefs, it's a basic principle of Islam.

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"You must control your desires, your emotions and have full trust in God. It takes time to get used to it. I get up at three o'clock to eat, it is difficult for the first week but I will get used to it after that.

"It teaches you to be tolerant person. If muslims are bad tempered or rude to their colleagues, they should not fast. Ramadan is about being a good person."

Those who are elderly, ill, pregnant, menstruating or travelling are exempt from fasting, but must still give money to charity, which is another core principle in the religion (Zakah).

Eid, which takes place on September 10 this year, marks the end of fasting with celebrations and feasts, visiting family and friends and giving of gifts.

Brent will mark the occasion with several celebrations which are open to all members of the community.

Qanun Bhatti, a 30-year-old Muslim, from Harlesden, said: "Ramadan should be about focusing on the spiritual rather than the worldly and eid is a celebration of both the spiritual and the physical.

"There's a really good feeling at Eid and its a time for the community to come together. It's like Christmas on steroids.

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