TVP Police Officers celebrating Ramadan 2023
Like many of our community members, some of our Thames Valley Police (TVP) colleagues have been celebrating Ramadan this month. Two of our colleagues have shared their inputs about managing Ramadan alongside their policing careers:
Working through Ramadan Kareem 2023, by Police Sergeant (PS) Raja Yousaf:
Of all the religious duties one performs as a Muslim, none affects you directly and those around you, as fasting for the Holy month of Ramadan.
We fast from before the sun rises, until the sun sets, every day, for an entire month. And before anyone asks, yes, not even water! It is a commandment, to put our money where our mouth is and stop eating between the times our Lord commanded us to. It’s the same reason we do not eat pork or drink wine at all.
Ramadan is a period promoting the best behaviour, allowing us to reset. For me, the greatest challenge has always been to get out of the bad habits I’ve got into over the past year. The not so diplomatic language, the lack of discipline in my life, health and fitness, my worship. We are commanded not to lie, even a small white lie. We aren’t allowed to harm another person (unless they are harming others). We avoid all sexual contact and flirtation, gossip and negative opinions. It’s because these traits are negative, and Islam shows us negativity can never heal you. That comes only by doing the right thing. Consistently. Thankfully, I haven’t had to chase anyone during a fasted state for many years!
Ramadan reconnects us to community, with something much bigger. We are united with over two billion Muslims worldwide in our fast and worship. We try to remove the impurities in our soul by rectifying our inner state. The fast helps me keep an eye over that by always making me aware of my hunger.
Sometimes, due to lack of understanding, people can be judgmental. I heard of one such incident where a supervisor appeared judgemental to those in their team observing Ramadan. They equated the fasting of Ramadan to just a calorific hunger exercise, unaware of the self-reflection and health benefits that occur. Ramadan is so much more than this. Whilst officers were disappointed by this attitude, they were heartened by another supervisor who asked if they could join the fast with them as a non-Muslim. This empathy moved the officers, and to me THAT is the one of the best virtues of Ramadan Kareem. I’ll explain… by being empathetic the second supervisor showed something greater than the limitation of food, they showed a connection, to something greater too; the experience of their colleagues, and their wider community. This was a selfless, thoughtful deed.
Last year TVP’s Muslim Police Association invited others from the force to fast for a day and then join Iftar (the breaking of the fast) to experience it. At the time Chief Constable John Campbell was among those who joined in, which was great to see.
I look forward to lovely meals laid out with my colleagues welcoming all, Muslim and non-Muslim to our table to share with us. We believe in generosity and hospitality, and it encourages others to be generous too. The values of the Muslim faith are similar to those of policing; having a sense of community, justice, discipline and the will to do good. I’ve witnessed this in hundreds of TVP officers and staff I’ve known over the 20 years I’ve been policing.
In fact, when Ramadan is over, you miss that ‘deliberate drive’ to be a better person! You learn to empathise so much more with others and develop much more discipline in your life.
This Ramadan Kareem, I will be remembering our brothers and sisters in Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan and Burma, Kashmir and in Ukraine. May Allah bless us all with security and safety, generosity, love and compassion to be better people, stand for justice and never be swayed by ignorance, but inspired by the empathy of those good souls around us. Ameen.
Our colleague Police Constable (PC) Misbah Ali, chair of our force’s Thames Valley Muslim Police Association, was on BBC Crimewatch Live on 20 March 2023 talking about how she manages Ramadan alongside her policing career. Watch her video:
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