Compassion. Generosity. Discipline. Honesty. Selflessness. Tolerance. These principles lie at the heart of Islam. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are bound to give, share and take care of others – whether those joined by family bonds or by friendship, or simply those less fortunate than themselves.
Faith doesn’t just mean believing in God – it means tangible actions and rituals, built around the Five Pillars of Islam. Carrying out these Pillars (Iman, serving god; Salah, prayer five times each day; Sawm, fasting during Ramadan; Hajj, making the pilgrimage to Mecca, and Zakat, charity) is the foundation of each day and is like a compass to guide one through life.
Thus, as a Muslim, charity is not just something to be carried out when the mood strikes you; it really is a lifelong duty. There are even rules on how much each person should donate from their earnings each year. Giving generously and regularly, and offering aid to those less fortunate – both within and outside the community – is part of the essence of Islam.
During Ramadan, this essence is alive more than ever. Alongside the rituals of prayer and fasting, giving is a natural element of this auspicious month. It is a time for sacrifice and self-discipline; and parting with hard-earned money for the benefit of others is a reminder that we are not defined by our possessions, but by our purpose.
For Ramadan 2015, as our act of charity (zakat) we supported two wonderful charities – Magic Breakfast in the UK, and The Akshaya Patra Foundation in India. At Diwali the same year, we made this partnership permanent. For every meal we serve, we donate a meal to a child who would otherwise go hungry. A meal for a meal. Since then, thanks to your kind support, we have donated over 12 million meals to children in the UK and India! We are beyond grateful to you all, dear patrons, and to our brilliantly big-hearted team.
We are privileged to continue to work with our long-term charity partners. During this holy month, we will be supporting The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s work in Ukraine where they’re providing emergency food relief at the border. We will be doubling our meal for a meal commitment with them to support this vital endeavour. Should you wish to donate and support them across both countries, kindly visit their website here.
Whether you are fasting or whether you are of a different faith, Ramadan is an opportunity to honour the universal values of love, giving and unity. In doing so, we just might remind ourselves that we all have much more in common than we think.
So – wishing you all Ramadan Mubarak! May your prayers and fasts be accepted.
The phone keeps ringing shrilly through the flat. Nauzer holds his head in his hands, palms clamped over his ears. “Beta, the phone!” He forgot his mother would still be here. He can’t have her answering in case it is Devia. He runs into the corridor to pick it up. It stops just before he can reach it. Breathless, he looks up and sees his mother in the kitchen.
Tucked away in a lovely corner of Wood Wharf, Dishoom Canary Wharf is now officially open and ready to welcome you all. The marble-top bar is ready to hold your drink, the textured, patterned (and extremely comforting) chairs are waiting to be kept warm and the hand-painted mural and carefully curated art – from Bombay and beyond – are waiting to be part of your conversations.
This chicken biryani is our homage to Britannia’s chicken berry pulao, using cranberries in place of the more authentic Persian barberries, which are tricky to find. (Despite much cajoling, Mr Kohinoor has never shared his wife’s famous recipe.) It is prepared in the kacchi style, originating from Hyderabad, in which marinated raw meat goes into the pot, to be cooked at the same time as the rice.
No party is complete without some delectable pours to toast the host with the most. For the crafty amongst us, bring out the shakers and strainers and the channel knife and pour your energy into building our festive concoction – The Taj Ballroom Toddy. A warming tipple inspired by The Taj Mahal Palace hotel, where Bombay’s jazz age was born.