The Ramadhan Diaries

Fasting in London and beyond

Archive for the day “July 9, 2013”

Channel 4’s Ramadhan Stuff

Channel 4’s Ramadhan Stuff

So this year Channel 4 are having a bit of a Ramadhan love in. They are going to be broadcasting calls to prayer – the adhan – at strategic fasting times of the day – like when you have to stop eating and when you can eat again. 

The channel are broadcasting films, having online ongoing content and asking for mass participation. It’s quite a new concept and I wonder what has brought on this extravaganza. So until I can ask Ralph Lee in person I have done a bit of google search to get some answers…

He wrote exclusively for the Radio Times, defending his reasoning for broadcasting the adhan.  “No doubt Channel 4 will be criticised for focusing attention on a ‘minority’ religion but that’s what we’re here to do – provide space for the alternative and a voice to the under-represented.

“And let’s not forget that Islam is one of the few religions that’s flourishing, actually increasing in the UK. Like Channel 4’s target audience, its followers are young. It’s recently been reported that half of British Muslims are under 25.”

Now I have heard the adhan from some rather remote and extreme places . In the pre 9/11 years I heard it from a Kashmiri mujahideen group’s camp, whilst making a Channel 4 documentary. I have heard it in the middle of a Libyan frontline hospital as we simultaneously received patients flooding in from the Bani Walid frontline. And now I am about to be able to tune in to hear it in my room fresh from Channel 4! I am not sure which one I am going to find the most bizarre.Lee describes it as “a nationwide tannoy system, a deliberate ‘provocation’ to all our viewers in the very real sense of the word”.


Channel 4’s British Ramadhan

Channel 4’s British Ramadhan

So Channel 4 are really embracing the Ramadhan spirit. There are LOADS of programmes on about the Muslim month of fasting.

WELCOME RAMADHAN 2013!!! Woohooo – it’s been a year


Woohooo – it’s been a year since I uploaded here. I can’t believe it’s been a year! It’s that time again – feeling, hungry, sleep deprived, a bit caffeine withdrawn and for you smokers out there – oh dear is all I can say. BUT hold tight, dig deep and go for it. It’s also a massive hardcore group stamina test – a massive community event, an international fest of shared togetherness and rumbly tummies. I mean how cool to think that when you are not eating during the day, abstaining from coffee and the fags, and the chocolates and the biscuits and the morning croissants well so are others – whether it’s someone in your town, your city, your country or on the planet!

It kind of is quite cool to think about. Although I am not going to fluff this up to be anything dreamy. IT IS HARD! OK there I admitetd it. I am onmy knees fasting. I don’t float around in some spiritual high. I get caffeine withdrawal headaches from some dark place, I get embaressing growly snarly tummy sounds emanating from the pit of an empty stomach, I worry about my breath – we all know that we get smelly breath from fasting! It’s embarressing and I worry about leaning over my patients with a killer breath.I mean they come to hospital because they feel ill- and then I’m all over them with my fasting breath. So there are many things to contest with. And then once you have fasted, there is an even bigger stamina test of standing in prayer for quite awhile each night. It’s called the taraweer prayers – which people can do on their own or more commonly in congregation in mosques. When I am in the middle of one those sessions, and if my mind wonders for a moment, and I think about my feet being a bit sore – I get a bit of buzz thinking that everyone else must feeling a wee bit weary too – but how hardcore are we for what we believe in!

I might be bringing this to a basic level – but I am just being honest. I am apprehensive because I don’t want to fail by obligations. I am apprehensive because I know my dedication to this month surpasses all else – and I am worried how it will impact what else I have to do in my life during this month. So I do ask God to help me – to stop me from being a wimp or feeling sorry for myself because I am going to have to find other ways to wake me up other than caffeine! So my first prayer is to thank God for giving me another Ramadhan where I have the health to fast. My brothers can’t fast this year because during the last Ramadhan one of them was diagnosed with end stage renal failure. He was only 24 at the time and it was out of the blue. He now only has one working kidney – after my other brother donated his kidney to save his life. So now both are vulnerable, on medications and at risk of complete renal failure if they don’t keep hydrated and medicated. They never knew that they would not be able to participate in this global fasting event again. So I do appreciate that I have another year so much. I suppose when it is taken from you – that is when you’ll miss those times the most.

I am also rather impressed with my naming of this blog last year- ‘The Ramadhan Diaries’ as I have just seen a diary starting on Channel 4- video diaries called – guess what RAMADHAN DIARIES!!

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