Fasting in Ramadan

Some of you will start a month of fasting for Ramadan on Monday 12 April 2021 (subject to the sighting of the new moon).  This is, no doubt, a special time for you and your families.  It is great that you are showing such dedication to your faith and keeping hold of a traditional practice that many other faiths also recognise.  Part of the purpose of the month is to bring people and communities together.  Although this year Ramadan might feel a little different with some of the restrictions in place, we still hope that the month brings you much happiness, benefit and increase.  Please do remember, however, that your commitment to school and your education needs also to continue.  To help you with this, a few practical tips/reminders follow:

  1. The summer fasts and long days will require you to go without food and drink for a long time. You must be best prepared for this by making sure you take something of good nutritional value in the pre-dawn meal before you close and make the intention to fast.  Cereals, yogurt, dates, wholemeal bread, vegetables, fresh fruit are amongst some of the healthy/slow release carbohydrate foods that will keep you satisfied for longer.
  2. Following on from this during the school day avoid running or standing around in the sun. Try to find some shade and occupy yourself in low energy activities.
  3. It is very important that you continue to come to school prepared to learn. Lessons will happen as normal.  Your teachers may make slight adjustments in some of the practical subjects for you but you should come fully prepared to take part with the correct equipment/kit.
  4. In the same way you must also wear the correct school uniform. Obviously when it is very hot, you may be allowed to take your blazers off, your form tutors will advise you about that.  However, some students during Ramadan feel that they need to wear mosque caps/hats.  We understand that this may be recommended at certain times/places but it is not a religious requirement for you to wear these in and around school.
  5. The real significance of this month is about self-discipline and working on improving your character. It is not just a case of going without food for long hours.  Working on honesty, truthfulness, charity, forgiveness, respect etc… are some of the positive character traits that become the focus of this month.  This is something that the school whole heartedly supports and we hope that in some way we can all benefit from this.
  6. With the shorter nights, long days and late night prayers many of you will only get about 6 hours of sleep every night but you will still be expected to attend school punctually as normal. Therefore some readjustment to your routine will be needed to help with this.  Like in some traditional cultures you should try to catch up on some sleep after school in order to re-energise for the rest of the day/fast.  It might take a few days for this to settle but it is a sensible way forward.
  7. It is also the case that many of you will be taking important internal exams during Ramadan. While we wholeheartedly support your commitment to fasting, we also ask you to uphold the duty of taking these exams seriously, sensibly and with the best of effort – educational success is also something important to the religion of Islam.  During the exam period, it is crucial that you develop a positive routine around fasting, prayers, revision and the taking of exams.  Remember also if you are not feeling well then there is the chance of making up the fasts at a later date.  Islam does not require one to place hardship, unrealistic aims or one’s future in jeopardy.  Similarly, if you become unwell whilst you are fasting then you should end the fast by taking some water.  In such situations Islamic rulings allow the breaking of a fast, this can also be made up at a later date.  There is also the prospect of offering the late nightly prayers at home rather than the mosque before an exam day, allowing you to get more sleep to feel fresher for the examination.  It will be a good idea to have a very intense revision period before Ramadan begins, this will ease some of the pressure and perhaps allow for a more strategic schedule during the month itself.
  8. When it is very hot, it is obviously important that you remain hydrated but without food or drink. This is a challenge which most of you will have experienced having fasted in previous years.  Small things like washing your hands with cold water, wiping over the face/head with cold water will help keep you cool.  This should be done at break/lunchtimes.  We don’t want students constantly out of lessons unless it is absolutely necessary.
  9. If you are unwell and unable to attend school then you should follow the normal absence procedures. Ask your parents to phone the front office and inform them on the day about your circumstances preferably before 8:40am.
  10. Remember also that one of the strengths of HGS is the broad cultures and faith groups represented in both our student and staff populations. This is something quite special for the School.  So while those of you who fast will need time/space to practice your faith please do remember that the Dining Hall will remain open and most people will continue to eat and drink throughout the day and they too will need time/space to do so!
  11. We ask students to do their prayers when they get home after school. Due to COVID-19, there will not be enough time or socially distanced space during KS3 or KS4 lunch to do prayers on site.  You will have plenty of time to complete the afternoon prayer when you get home.

We wish you a happy and prosperous Ramadan.  If you do have any further questions or comments then you are welcome to speak to Mr Mohammed (room 10).