In the heart of Jakarta, the grand Istiqlal Mosque was built with a vision for it to stand for a thousand years. The mosque was conceived by Soekarno, Indonesia’s founding father, and was designed as an impressive symbol for the country's independence. Its seven gates — representing the seven heavens in Islam — welcome visitors from across the archipelago and the world into the mosque's lofty interior. But they don't just see the light here. It fuels them. A major renovation in 2019 installed upwards of 500 solar panels on the mosque's expansive roof, now a major and clean source of Istiqlal's electricity. And this Ramadan, the mosque has encouraged an energy waqf — a type of donation in Islam that continues to bear fruit over time — to grow its capacity to make renewable power. Her Pramtama, deputy head of the Ri’ayah — or building management — division of Istiqlal Mosque, hopes that Islam's holiest month, when the faithful flock to mosques in greater numbers, can provide momentum to Istiqlal's solar project through donations. The mosque's climate push is just one example of different “Green Ramadan” initiatives in Indonesia and around the world that promote an array of changes during the Muslim holy month, which has fasting and, in many cases, feasting elements as people gather to break their fasts. In a month where restraint and charity are emphasized, recommendations can include using less water while performing the ritual washing before prayers, replacing plastic bottles and cutlery during community iftars with reusable ones and reducing food waste. Other suggestions include carpooling to mosques, using local produce, emphasizing recycling and using donations to fund clean energy projects. For the world to limit the effects of climate change — which is already causing worsening droughts, floods and heat waves — the use of dirty fuels for electricity and transport, petrochemicals to make products like plastics and the emissions from food waste in landfills all need to be drastically slashed, scientists say. Though individual initiatives are just a small part of that transition, experts say growing momentum behind climate goals can have an effect. Groups taking an Islamic-based approach often highlight environmental understandings of certain Quranic verses and sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad about the earth, water and against wastefulness. Last year, at a meeting of the Muslim Congress for Sustainable Indonesia, the country’s vice president Ma’ruf Amin called on clerics and community leaders “to play an active role in conveying issues related to environmental damage” and asked for concrete action on climate change including through donations to solar projects like those at Istiqlal Mosque. Muhammad Ali Yusuf, a board member at the faith-based Nahdlatul Ulama’s Institution for Disaster Management and Climate Change in Indonesia, said spreading awareness about clean energy is a “shared responsibility” for Muslims, where mosques' own solar panel installations can be catalysts toward a greater transition. In the United States and Canada, environmental groups that began springing up in Muslim communities in the mid-2000s independently from one another formed “green Muslim understandings” from within their religious traditions, according to Imam Saffet Catovic, a U.S. Muslim community environmental activist. “In some cases, the mosques were receptive to it,” he said. In others, mosque leaders, “didn’t fully understand” the drive, he added. Ramadan offers a “possibility for ecological training that’s unique to the Muslim community,” Catovic said. “Thirty days allow someone to change their habits." The Islamic Society of North America website calls on Muslims to be “an eco-friendly community”, saying looking after the environment is “based upon the premise that Islam has ordained us to be the stewards and protectors of this planet.” Some mosques and Muslims around the world are heeding such calls, one small step at a time. Ahead of Ramadan this year, the mosque at Al Ma’hadul Islamic Boarding School in Indonesia received solar panels through Islamic donations, supplying enough energy for the mosque's entire needs. The electricity from the solar panels also lights up schools and roads in the vicinity. The Nizamiye Mosque in Johannesburg, South Africa, with its towering minarets and spacious interior, has a roof dotted with domes and solar panels that help keep the power on at the mosque and its surrounding schools, clinic and bazaar. The 143 panels cover over a third of the complex's energy use in a country that has struggled in recent years to provide enough electricity through its strained grid. In Edison, New Jersey, Masjid Al-Wali¸ a mosque and community center, has been adopting changes such as selling reusable water bottles to members at cost and installing more water coolers to discourage the use of disposable plastic bottles, said board member Akil Mansuri. “Preserving the environment is the Islamically right thing to do,” Mansuri said. “People accept the message, but adoption is always slower.” Several years ago, Masjid Al-Wali, whose activities include an Islamic school and monthly community dinners, installed solar panels. Meals this Ramadan for the mosque’s community iftars come in plastic pre-packaged boxes for now, Mansuri said. But mosque leaders encourage members to take leftovers and reuse the boxes, instead of throwing them away, he said, adding he hopes alternatives can be found next Ramadan. In the United Kingdom, Projects Against Plastic, a Bristol-based charity, is leading a plastic-free Ramadan campaign. “I feel like, as a Muslim, that mosques are the hub of the communities and they should take a little bit more leading role for sustainability and toward recycling,” PAP founder Naseem Talukdar said. “During the month of Ramadan is where I’ve really seen a ridiculous amount of plastic being used and thrown away.” Mosques are urged to raise awareness on plastic pollution and reduce reliance on single-use plastic. Seven Bristol mosques participated in a pilot project last year, with varying results, and a national campaign, with more than 20 participating mosques, was rolled out this year. Besides education, another challenge is when mosques don’t have enough funds to buy reusable cutlery, dishwashers and water fountains. “We knew we were going to hit some hard walls and some pushbacks, but, to be honest, the engagement that we’ve seen so far, it was a little overwhelming,” Talukdar said. “Even though the progress is slow, but there’s a real appetite for this kind of initiative within the mosque." Ummah for Earth, an alliance-led initiative that aims to empower Muslim communities facing climate change, is urging people to pledge to adopt one eco-friendly practice during Ramadan. Options include asking an imam to address environmental issues, donating to environmental charities and shopping sustainably. “Many Muslims are not aware that there are environmental teachings in the Quran and the sayings of the prophet and that they have a role that they can play to protect the planet,” said Nouhad Awwad, Beirut-based campaigner and global outreach coordinator for the Ummah for Earth project at Greenpeace MENA. As they work to raise awareness, campaigners often encounter the argument that climate change is “destined” and that “you cannot change God’s destiny,” Awwad said. “We’re trying to change the narrative,” she said. “We have things that we can do on an individual level, on a community level and on a political level.”
This year (2023), the minimum Fitra has been fixed at Tk 115 per person while the maximum is Tk 2,640. Fitra is an obligatory charity distributed to the poor at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Read more: Minimum Fitra fixed at Tk 75 per person The decision was taken at a meeting of the National Fitra Fixing Committee held on Sunday (April 02, 2023), chaired by the committee's head and Baitul Mukarram National Mosque’s Khatib Hafez Maulana Mufti Mohammad Ruhul Amin. The rate of Fitra is fixed on the basis of market prices of flour, dates, cheese, raisins and some other essentials. Fitra is paid to the poor before the jamaat (congregation) of Eid-ul-Fitr. Read More: Pakistani police arrest 8 after deadly Ramadan food stampede
The Hajj and Umrah Ministry of Saudi Arabia has recommended pilgrims to perform Umrah just once during the holy month of Ramadan. To avoid crowding and guarantee that pilgrims have a simple and straightforward travel to the sites, the ministry recommended Muslims to undertake Umrah just once throughout the holy month, reports Al Arabiya. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Saudi officials were concerned about overcrowding at the holy sites because they wanted to make sure that travelers were safe at all times, it said. Read More: Saudi govt reduces Umrah insurance cost for foreign pilgrims by 63% The Nusuk app allows Muslims from all over the world to apply to participate in the pilgrimage and plan their whole trip there, including applying for a eVisa and arranging accommodations and flights, the report also said. Except for during Hajj, any period of the year is permissible for Muslims to go to Makkah to perform Umrah. Many people aspire to do Umrah during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Read More: Route to Mecca: MoU signed to make Bangladeshi pilgrims' Saudi visits easier
The holy month of Ramadan is here and the Muslims have started month-long fasting. It is essential to take healthy foods and drinks at sehri, or sahur, as it is the meal that stores energy for long hours and helps continue the fast. Therefore, it is recommended to consume the right foods at Sehri to get the required nutrients for the body. Let’s take a look at 7 nutrient-rich sehri meal recipes for a healthy start to one’s Ramadan fasting. 7 Nutritous Seheri Meal Recipes for Ramadan Fasting Fruit Cube Salad Recipe Fruit cube salad is only eye-catching to look at but it is delicious, healthy and a creative recipe also. Ingredients ½ kg watermelon, 2 large bananas, 1 pineapple, 1 large apple, ¼ cup marshmallow For garnishing mint leaves, crushed nuts, sesame seeds, and cinnamon InstructionsFirst, wash the fruits, peel them off, and cut them into cubes. Make sure you use a sharp knife for the fruits. Marshmallows will add a soft texture (sweetness) to the finished cube. The cubes will be around 2.5cm each. This step is a little bit tricky but cutting well-shaped cubes is what makes the whole cube work well. Make one row consisting of three alternating cubes so that no adjacent cubes are the same fruit and the base will have four sides of three cubes on each side. To complete the cube, make two more layers (same). Top with a mint leaf, crushed nuts, sesame seeds, and cinnamon. Enjoy the amazing fruit cube salad. Read More: Cozy Rainy Day Recipes To Warm You Up Chicken Kebab Recipe Ingredients 300 gms chicken mince, 50 gms onion, 50 gms tomatoes, 30 gms coriander leaves, 50 gms green capsicum, 20 gms green chilli, 5 gms salt, 20 ml oil, 20 gms cashew, 20 gms almonds, 10 gms mint, 5 gms red chilli powder, five gms masala powder, 5 gms ginger garlic paste, 3 gms cumin powder, 10 ml lemon juice, 10 ml fresh cream, 5 ml kewra water InstructionsFirst, take a blender and put mince chicken, onion, salt, red chilli powder, garam masala, ginger garlic paste, cumin powder, lemon juice, coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chilies, fresh cream, kewra water, cashew, and almonds and blend nicely. Put the mince mix on wooden skewers. Now chopped onion, capsicum, and coriander leaves on a plate. Enclose these chopped vegetables around the kebabs and bake them in the oven at 180 degrees for eight to ten minutes. Your Chicken Kebab is ready. Read More: Ramadan Fasting with Diabetes: Best foods for Sehri and Iftar Oats Kheer Recipe Kheer is the most admired dessert and oats are one of the most chosen and popular ones to prepare healthy kheer. Ingredients1 cup oats, half litre milk, sugar (optional), 6 dates, 7 almonds, 3 cardamoms, one banana, 7 raisins, 1 cup mixed fruits (optional) InstructionsFirst, cook oats for about 5 minutes. Next, take a pan and put milk, sugar, cardamom, dates, almonds and raisins and let the mixture boil for about 5 to 6 minutes. Now mix oats and cook them boil as long as it becomes thick. Add mixed fruits when the kheer is ready to enjoy. Read More: Healthy Sehri Ideas: What to eat and avoid for Sehri during Ramadan
As part of the party’s decision to continue its movement, BNP on Friday announced fresh programmes, including sit-in and mass campaign, from the metropolitan city to union levels to press home their 10-point demand, including holding the next general election under a non-party caretaker government. The programme is also meant for registering the party’s protest against the rise in the prices of power, gas and essential items and the Awami League government’s all-pervasive corruption. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced the programme at an iftar party at the Ladies Club in the city. As part of the programme, the party will stage a sit-in from 2pm to 4pm on April 1 in all metropolitan cities and districts towns. Also Read: Fakhrul has no say in BNP’s internal politics: Quader Besides, a similar programme will be observed from 3pm to 5pm on April 8 at all thanas in metropolitan cities and at all upazilas in the districts.
Ramadan spirit: 2 Chandpur traders selling iftar essentials at Tk 1 profit, medicine at purchase price
This Ramadan, two traders in Chandpur’s Faridganj upazila are going above and beyond to uphold the spirit of the holy month. Shah Alam, owner of a grocery shop adjacent to Central Charkumira Mohila Madrasa in Faridganj, is selling iftar essentials including pulses, puffed rice, flattened rice, dates etc. at a profit of only Tk 1. Mostafa Kamal, owner of a medicine store at Sanki Sair Bazar in East Balithuba of the same upazila, is selling medicines at purchase price during Ramadan. Read More: With no easing of price hike, tough times for people in Khulna as Ramadan begins Friday Both traders distributed leaflets among people and informed through social media in this regard.These noble initiatives have created quite a buzz in the locality. According to Shah Alam and Mostafa, sales are seeing a boost, and locals are praising their initiative. Alhaj Jahangir Akhand Selim, president of Chandpur District Industry and Merchants Association, has issued a statement urging all traders in the district to sell iftar essentials and other commodities at low profit in public interest during Ramadan. Read More: Muslims in 40 Chandpur villages set to commence Ramadan with Saudi Arabia.
The price hike of daily essentials has put the people in Khulna district, especially low-income families, under pressure ahead of Ramadan, the holy month that will begin from Friday. Prices of essential commodities including pulses, chickpea, puffed rice, flattened rice, edible oil, sugar, onion, garlic, potato, dates, fruits and other items used for iftar have already seen a rise, but some traders say the market is “normal” compared to the previous year. Low-income people are worried about meeting their daily needs. During a recent visit to markets in Khulna city, including Moilapota, Dakbungalow, New Market, Chitrali and Doulatpur areas, UNB’s correspondent noted sky-rocketing price of dates, an item generally consumed during iftar, is forcing many to buy in far less amount compared to previous years. Also read: How the record hike in fuel prices manifested in Dhaka’s kitchen markets One kg of Ambar dates is being sold at Tk 1500 while the price of one kg Ajwa dates is Tk 1000, Mariam dates is Tk 900, Sukkari dates is Tk 750, Medjool (big) dates is Tk 1300. Unripe dates are being sold at Tk 500 per kg. Besides, one kg of green apple is being sold at Tk 320-350, Fuji apple Tk 260-300 per kg, pomegranate Tk 350-400 per kg, orange Tk 220 per kg and malta at 220 per kg. Meanwhile, five litres of edible oil is being sold at Tk 900, two litres of edible oil is being sold at Tk 370, one kg of local pulses is being sold at Tk 140, chickpeas Tk 85, sugar Tk 115, potato Tk 25, chickpea powder Tk 110, puffed rice half kg packets being sold at Tk 70, flattened rice Tk 60-65, onion Tk 35, and garlic Tk 100 per kg. Also read: Spice prices shoot up ahead of Eid despite sufficient stock Mainul Islam, who works at a private company, said, “Prices of daily essentials are usually hiked before Ramadan begins, but this year the situation is unbearable. One kg of chicken is being sold at Tk 250 while beef at Tk 700. How can I meet the daily needs of my family with my salary that hasn’t gone up to match these prices?” Prices of vegetables have also increased. None was below Tk 50-60 per kg, he said. Mamun, a roadside vendor, said, “Every year, my family and I fast during Ramadan. This year, it’ll be difficult for us to have meat with rice.” Meanwhile, price of bananas — that are eaten during iftar and sehri — has also gone up. One dozen medium sized bananas are being sold at Tk 80-120 while large bananas are being sold at Tk 140-150 per dozen. Recently, the government asked deputy commissioners to monitor markets strictly during the month of Ramadan and take legal measures if necessary. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked all to be vigilant against the hoarding of foods and the black-marketing of these commodities during the holy month.
For the first time in UK, West End district of London has been lit up with 30,000 lights to mark the holy month of Ramadan. Coventry Street, which links Leicester Square with Piccadilly, is illuminated with "Happy Ramadan”, BBC reports. London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, one of the 1.3 million Muslims in the capital of United Kingdom celebrating Ramadan, switched on the lights. The installation was created by Ayshea Desai, who was motivated by her love of Christmas lights, according to BBC. Read More: UNICEF launching first large-scale fundraising campaign in Bangladesh this Ramadan She said: "I just had the ambition to do it like the Christmas lights.” "I remembered going to visit the Christmas lights with my sister when I was growing up and I also had an opportunity to live in the Middle East and I wanted to bring that joy and magic to London, the city that I'm from," she told BBC. Desai began the project three years ago. "It looks incredible, I'm so overwhelmed with the response," she said. Read More: Muslim authorities say Ramadan fasting to begin Thursday "I wanted to raise that awareness as well to let our neighbours know that this is a really important month for us, it's my favourite month of the year and I'm just grateful that we're here today." According to BBC, a public Iftar will be organized at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, where a temporary mosque and Ramadan pavilion have been constructed for Muslims and non-Muslims. Meanwhile, Chelsea football club will also organize open Iftar at the side of the pitch at Stamford Bridge, in what will be a first for the club and a Premier League stadium. Wembley stadium will do the same later in the month, BBC reported. Read More: Ministry to sell meat, eggs at lower prices in Dhaka during Ramadan
This Ramadan, UNICEF is launching a large-scale campaign to raise funds for malnourished children in Bangladesh. For the first time, the fundraising campaign is taking place inside Bangladesh, appealing to the growing affluent class who are more able to donate towards helping children in their own country. With a strong economy, Bangladesh reached lower-middle-income country status in 2015 and aims to become an upper-middle-income country by 2031. At the same time, the country’s economic progress and success mean that Bangladesh receives less foreign aid. Read More: Multiple crises set to plunge more children into poverty, ILO and UNICEF report warns “The economic progress in Bangladesh has created enhanced opportunities for us to take care of the underprivileged section of our population and to ensure that we leave no one behind. The success of Bangladesh needs to be reflected through the children, who are our future and who also depend on us for their education, healthcare and well-being,” said Masud Bin Momen, Foreign Secretary of the Government of Bangladesh. UNICEF – which is funded entirely through voluntary contributions – has been on the ground in Bangladesh for over 70 years, saving children’s lives and protecting children’s rights. Globally, UNICEF has helped save more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. The UNICEF Ramadan fundraising campaign is a first-ever invitation from UNICEF to people in Bangladesh to let their good deeds echo for malnourished children around the country together with UNICEF. Read More: UNICEF wants investment in world's first child-focused climate risk financing solution The most common forms of malnutrition are stunting (low height for age) or wasting (low weight for height). Bangladesh has made impressive progress in addressing malnutrition. Stunting was reduced from 42 per cent in 2013 to 28 per cent in 2019. Yet, over five million Bangladeshi children under the age of five suffer from malnutrition. Stunting is caused by chronic or recurring undernutrition, and the damage done to a child’s body and brain by stunting cannot be reversed. It drags down performance at school and later at work, and puts a child at a higher risk of dying from infectious diseases. Wasting is an acute form of undernourishment which can be fatal. It is characterized by recent and severe weight loss which is often caused by lack of food and by disease. Children born to the poorest families are more likely to suffer from stunting and wasting. And when disasters such as floods strike, these already vulnerable children are at heightened risk. Read More: Heatwaves to impact almost every child by 2050: UNICEF report “There is no greater cause than championing children’s health, education and rights. This Ramadan, UNICEF invites the people of Bangladesh to join hands with UNICEF to help the most vulnerable children in their own country,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh.
Meat, eggs, and milk will be sold at lower prices in Dhaka from March 23, and it will continue till the 28th of Ramadan. The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock will sell meat, eggs, and milk at 20 points in Dhaka to meet public demand during the holy month of Ramadan, Iftekhar Hossain, public relations officer of the ministry, told UNB. Read More: Have enough stock, no scope of price hike during Ramadan: Tipu Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim will launch the sale of these items -- beef, mutton, dressed broiler chicken, milk, and eggs -- formally at a function in Dhaka on Thursday. The Department of Livestock will conduct the sales. However, prices of the items are yet to be fixed, he added. These essential items will be sold at "cheaper prices" to facilitate households' protein intake throughout Ramadan, Iftekhar Hossain added. Read More: If people don’t buy in excess, there will be no price hike of essentials ahead of Ramadan: Tipu Munshi