With Ramadan occuring this year so shortly after Midsummer, divisions in the Muslim community residing in Northern Europe are bubbling away at the surface of unity.
Because during Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, those Muslims living far North, will have a significantly longer fast than those living nearer the equator. As the Ummah continues to find its members all over the globe, more and more key Islamic practices come under pressure to adjust and acclimate to local conditions. The month long fasting period of Ramadan is being carefully scrutinised and debated by religious scholars, as to the timing of the fasts, and their spiritual intention.
Coinciding with an increasing number of migratory Muslims as well as indigenous converts, means that non- Muslims are increasingly aware of Ramadan, even if its meaning and purpose are sometimes shrouded in mystery. Consequently, a number of inter faith initiatives over the past ten years have made remarkable endeavours to share Ramadan and Iftar- the breaking of the fast- with non Muslims.
This month’s Inter Faith Relations article examines the minor crisis facing the Ummah regarding fasting periods, and more interestingly enough how Muslims and non- Muslims can share the Iftar experience.