London: Gearing up to greet Ramadan - the holy month of fasting, likely to begin June 6 or 7, the British Muslims are also expected to break last year’s £100m record of charity donations - Zakat and Sadaqah, local media reported Friday.
Zakat, or charitable giving, is one of the five pillars of Islam and required for Muslims whereas sadaqah is additional voluntary charity. Along with observing fast during the month of Ramadan, Muslims also donate huge amounts in the form of charity in the holy month.
“As Muslims, we believe that the worth of donations is multiplied during Ramadan,” Othman Moqbel, Chief Executive of Human Appeal, is quoted as saying in a report published by The Guardian.
Human Appeal is one of the fastest-growing charities in the UK – annual donations to it have risen from £5m to £30m in the past five years.
About half of all gifts to Human Appeal are made during Ramadan. As well as aid and emergency programmes in 25 countries, the charity is involved in food banks, homeless shelters, mental health and domestic violence projects in the UK.
“Charity begins at home and the community which gives so generously to us deserves something in return,” said Moqbel.
The Islamic holy month, which is expected to begin on Monday, straddles the summer equinox this year, meaning early sunrises and late sunsets. The dates of Ramadan, which are determined by the moon, move forward by 10 or 11 days each year in a 33-year cycle.
Muslims in the northern hemisphere face the most challenging Ramadan for more than 30 years, with long summer days creating the shortest possible window for breaking their daily fast.
Muslims in the Scottish Highlands and islands face the longest fasting period in the UK. “In the Highlands, the light never really goes – it’s dusk, rather than complete darkness. We still have to go about our lives, so it can be tough,” said Waheed Khan, a hospital doctor and trustee of the Inverness Masjid, the most northerly mosque in the UK.
“But Muslims are motivated to fast. Thinking about it seems difficult, but doing it is fine,” he added.