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.
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. In these troubled times of extremist madness and lazy scapegoating, such a celebration of our universal spirit seems good and right.
So – wishing you all Ramadan Mubarak! May your prayers and fasts be accepted.
During Ramadan, the month of giving, we are privileged to be supporting two wonderful charities: Magic Breakfast, in London, and Akshaya Patra, in India. Both charities provide nourishing, free school meals for children who don’t get enough food at home. So, for every guest who eats with us this month, we’ll feed another two in need, meaning every meal we serve equals three full bellies.
Every evening at the time of breaking fast – which falls around 9.20pm – we’ll be serving the traditional dates and refreshing Nimbu Pani to anyone waiting outside for a table, to keep you going until dinner!
UPDATE – MAY 2017
After reflecting on these partnerships, we felt inspired to do more. So at Diwali the same year, we committed to providing a meal for a child in need for every guest who dines with us, ongoing. A meal for a meal.
We are absolutely thrilled to share that since Ramadan 2015, thanks to your kind support, we’ve now donated OVER 2 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.
IT HAS BEEN an annual December habit of mine, these past ten years since we embarked upon this restaurant business, to sit alone, with myself, and reflect on the year gone by. I am grateful to be here in the Permit Room in our restaurant in Shoreditch scribbling and writing, the oddly enjoyable taste of splintering wood from my chewed up pencil smoothed by my decently strong drink.
These are the last few days, the dregs of 2019. It’s my habit to sit here in the Permit Room at this time. I am the be-stubbled and dishevelled regular, cherishing his precious drink at the end of the bar. Weary, I sit here pondering the year, attempting to figure out what it was trying to teach me. What wisdom can I glean from it?
I love to truly understand and appreciate the origins of a dish, and learn how communities have adapted a recipe over time to make that dish unique to them.
We have arrived at a very sad, but inevitable and clear choice. As of now, all Dishooms are now closed to diners.