The Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF) celebrated the start of the holy month of Ramadan by holding a Virtual Iftar on Saturday, 17th April. As well as reflecting on the values of Ramadan and the duties Muslims have to engage in the civil society, those present also remembered the victims of Covid during the prayers held just before the moment of Iftar.
Those present heard Cllr Khaled Noor, Chair of the MPF, welcome everyone to the meeting. He also read out the MPF’s statement on the death of HRH Prince Philp.
Ansar Habib a solicitor and member of the MPF Executive Committee, recited from the Holy Qur’an, with a translation.
Lord Sheikh Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Turkey and Vice-Chair of the APPGs on Bangladesh, Sir Lanka, Nepal, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, spoke about Muslim civic engagement and responsibilities. He spoke about that part of his work in the House of Lords which is dedicated to Muslim and BAME communities.
Addressing the meeting, Lord Sheikh said:
“The month of Ramadan allows us to purify our minds and bodies, as our minds and bodies think of fasting. We learn to develop self-control and to be thankful to Allah for his divine mercy. During the month of Ramadan we think of the words of the Holy Koran commanded by Allah and first revealed to the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) by angel Jibril.
“Ramadan is also the month of forgiveness and giving of charity. UK Muslims gave over £150 million to charity during the month of Ramadan last year. I made this point in one of my speeches in the House of Lords and I think we must be proud of what we are doing in this country for charitable causes.”.
Cllr Muhammed Butt
, Leader of Brent Council, then spoke about the challenges faced by Muslims in Local Government, in particular addressing the rise of Islamophobia during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Addressing the meeting, Cllr Butt said,
“Lord Sheikh was talking about how Muslim communities came forward during the pandemic – but it’s not just the pandemic. If you go back to the Grenfell tragedy, that happened at the time of Ramadan. I remember waking up and seeing this and from that time on our Muslim communities have been at the forefront of making sure that we provide that support. And that is one of the basic tenets of Islam, isn’t it? The right to life, the right to dignity, the right to equality.”
- Belayeth Hussain a solicitor, then spoken about the teaching of Ramadan in professional ethics and development.
Dr Abul Kalam Azad
(Shaykh A.K. Azad), an Islamic scholar, then spoke about the teachings of Ramadan and the civic and social responsibilities of Ramadan.
The Chair, Cllr Khaled Noor, gave some concluding remarks.
Prayers, during which the victims of Covid-19 were remembered, were led by Dr Abul Kalam Azad. Those present then broke their fast.
Muslim Professionals Forum Chair, Cllr Khaled Noor, said:
“We hold regular meetings which focus on discussion of topics of particular interest to a Muslim audience or which look at how Muslims live in the modern world. We were pleased to have a different focus this month and share thoughts about our faith, before praying and celebrating Iftar together.
“Sadly, our annual Iftar had to be a virtual meeting. We hope that next year we shall be able to meet and celebrate Ramadan in person.”