Ramadan: How We Ensure Our Serving Muslims Can Observe The Holy Month

on June 20, 2017 by AFMA

Ramadan Mubarak to all British Muslims observing the Holy Month.

There are currently around 550 Muslims serving in the Armed Forces, who are employed in a variety of roles. They balance the needs of the services and their faith while maintaining operational effectiveness.

To ensure our serving Muslims can observe Ramadan, the military and AFMA have worked to ensure that the religious and personal needs of its staff are being met. Health and safety is, of course, paramount, alongside our faith.

Religious guidance on any exemptions and making up missed fasts can be sought from the Muslim Chaplain. Muslims are ministered to by the Imam to the Forces, Imam Ali Omar who offers spiritual support, pastoral care and moral guidance.

There are some circumstances where fasting may not be possible, such as among Muslim recruits undergoing initial training which requires arduous physical activity. A Muslim Chaplain is available to provide appropriate religious advice and guidance.

Fasting during operations and deployments may be possible, but operational and security needs must take priority.

Cpl Husnain Mohammed is a serving member of the Armed Forces. He says: “Practicing Islamic faith – fasting, I’ve fasted, sometimes one day then missed a day because of the heat and tempo of work, it was my choice, there was no one there saying I couldn’t fast, the option is there.”

And AFMA’s Imam Asim Hafiz advises those in charge of the UK Armed Forces on all Islamic matters.

“We work closely with the Armed Forces to ensure all of our serving Muslims are able to observe Ramadan is the best possible way each year,” he says. “It is important that we do this – Muslims make up a vital part of our forces and they have no doubt that practising their faith complements the Army’s values of selfless commitment, courage, discipline, integrity, loyalty and respect for others.

“One of the key elements of this is ensuring serving Muslims are aware of our commitment to respecting the Holy Month – for instance by providing commanders and catering managers with access to a daily timetable for fasting and prayer periods. We also ensure Halal food is available both on camp, exercise and operations for pre-sunrise and after sundown meals.

“Muslim personnel may request to work flexibly during Ramadan.  For example, appropriate consideration may be given when it comes to attending a formal social function, if it takes place during daylight hours.”

The British Armed Forces wishes everyone a blessed and fulfilling Ramadan.

The Armed Forces Muslim Association (AFMA), was set up in recognition of the contribution Muslim personnel make across all three services, both in the Regular and Reserve forces.

From the earliest days of basic training, through to deployment and military operations, AFMA is on the ground helping support British Muslims in the Armed Forces, helping these dedicated Muslim men and women perform their military duties in full without compromising their faith.

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