RNA - There have been many heartwarming acts of kindness that people across Greater Manchester have been doing to celebrate Ramadan.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (Sawm).
The month also marks the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to their belief. Observance of it is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
It lasts 29-30 days based on the lunar calendar.
The first day of the month of Ramadan was officially announced as Thursday, May 17 - although Muslim days run from sunset to sunset so Ramadan actually began on the evening of May 16.
It will continue for 30 days. This means that the first day of the next month, Shawwal, is expected to begin around Friday 15 June.
It's traditional to convey greetings and blessings to those who are about to begin an entire month of fasting.
Here are just some of the brilliant acts of kindness happening across our region:
Youngsters from Moss Park Junior School in Stretford have been dishing out kindness for Ramadan.
The school’s Ethos Team decided to run an activity similar to a ‘reverse advent calendar’ to mark the Islamic holy month.
Every day, pupils and teachers are donating items to the class food hamper.
This will then be presented to Chorlton-based Barakah Foods – which runs a free food initiative – after Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan.
The school said in a letter to Barakah Foods: “We don’t think this has been done before, so we hope to inspire lots of other schools and people.
“We hope to show that our school is generous to those who need support in our local community.”
Manzoor Ali runs Barakah Foods in Chorlton.
For a number of years now, he and his family have also been collecting donations for their free food initiative, Barakah Food Aid, which provides food packages to those in need.
The 44-year-old says that often around Ramadan and Christmas they see an increase in donations, and says that although these are greatly appreciated, it should be happening all year round.
“We are constantly active,” he said.
“We have also been putting together around 20 Ramadan food packs each week, as well as our usual parcels.
“With those we provide a full week’s shopping – not just food, but toiletries as well. Anything a family will need, and all donations come from the local community.
“The whole point of Ramadan is to remind people how much we have and to be grateful of it, and to remind us of the poor in our communities, the neighbours who may be struggling and we don't even know.
“We need to help the poor in society as best we can.
“Around Christmas and Ramadan, donations do increase, but this should be all year around.
“These people suffer beyond those weeks and it why we need to continue to help after this time.”
For more information on Barakah Food Aid, visit facebook.com/BarakahFoodAid .
Foodbanks across Manchester have been stepping up their acts of kindness as part of Ramadan.
Human Relief Foundation (HRF) on Wilmslow Road act as a drop off point and distribute supplies to foodbanks in need.
Wajahat Hussain, who works in communities and fundraising at HRF, said their ongoing work takes on a spiritual meaning during Ramadan.
According to Manchester Evening News, he said: “Our Muslim brothers are continually taking and collecting donations to support local food banks to help those in need, especially those in our local community.
“During Ramadan it becomes more meaningful because the idea is to look after our neighbours who various reasons maybe in need of support.
“We all fast for 18 hours of the day during Ramadan but when we go home we know there is food in the fridge so we can break our fast surrounded by family.
“Not everyone has food, a home or a family to go to and we’re very much aware of that during Ramadan.”
Fellow HRF volunteer Dr Safina Islam and her two daughters have approached their local church to identify members of their congregation who, through no fault of their own, may be isolated or living alone.
Dr Safina Islam says: “Ramadan is a time for family and a time where families share food and are grateful for their blessings.
“There are so many people living amongst us in our local communities that do not have anyone to share food, talk to or be listened to.
“This Ramadan we will be sharing our blessings, taking some food and having a good old chat.”