Coventry Road comes alive at night as Brum Muslims celebrate the last days of Ramadan

It’s after midnight on Coventry Road in Small Heath, and the area is filled with people celebrating the last days of the holy month of Ramadan. Lots of Muslims were out shopping for the festivities ahead of Eid Ul Fitr.

Heavy smoke rises from charcoal grills, and the scent of sweet bakhoor incense fills the air. Rows of food stalls along the sidewalks selling burgers and hot dogs, Malaysian satay, Lebanese kebabs, desserts and Eid gifts like perfume, sneakers and clothes.

A stream of cars passes by and those in there watch in amazement at the buzzing atmosphere while people enjoy food, shopping and joy. With little room to walk as the waiting queues grow to the food stalls, Coventry Road becomes a hive of activity as worshipers leave night prayers from the mosque and head down the street.

Read more: Some of the best Eid gifts and decorations we found on Coventry Road

Eid Ul Fitr marks the end of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, with Muslims fasting from sunset to sunrise for 29 to 30 days. But the day is not known until a lunar eclipse confirms it, and this year it is expected to fall on Sunday or Monday.

We are in the last 10 days of Ramadan, which are particularly significant, as these days it will be Laylatul Qadr, which means Night of Power – it is believed that the Qur’an was revealed on one of these days. But it is also a time when there is greater reward in acts of kindness and charity.

Derby food blogger Mohsin Hussain visits Coventry Road in Small Heath during Ramadan.

The famous Coventry Road festivities have brought people from all walks of life along with some who come from all over the country to try the street food vendors. Food critic Mohsin Hussain, known by the online name BeardedMo, brought his family from Derby to enjoy the uplifting atmosphere.

“I saw Coventry Road everywhere on social media and I just thought I should come here and try it,” he said. “There are only a few more days of Ramadan and we came out with a little treat.

“I’m really looking forward to digging in some burgers and the wife really wants to try the Dutch pancakes.”

“After breaking our fast, we went to pick up some presents for my nieces, mom and sister because there’s just so much on offer here. And the atmosphere is completely electric.”

Fancy items in almanaar store on Coventry Rd.

The Islamic Almanaar store is one of many stores that are open until late and abound with shoppers looking for their Eid outfits and gifts. Hallways with clothes for men and women, jewelry, perfumes, scarves, Eid-bunting and banners, funeral mats and pearls, candy boxes and bakalava and honey as well as home furnishings.

Director Mohammed Saleem said earlier: “Our business is very seasonal, so turnout is more during Ramadan as it is a special month for Muslims across Birmingham – so Alum Rock Road, Stratford Road and Coventry Road will be very busy.”

“There are so many selections of gifts for Ramadan and Eid, and that’s why it gets so busy during this period. The Islamic ornaments, clothes for men and women and gifts are quite popular, so they go fast during Ramadan.”

This one-stop-shop for Eid gifts has something for the whole family. The dazzling exhibition outside captures customers offering all goods from all corners of the world like Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates.

Ika Muji owns Malaysia street food, Satay Birmingham, which opened just two months ago.

As we move further up the road, street food vendors continue to serve to the crowds. Ika Muji from Small Heath is a newly opened Malaysian street food stall. Sharing her love of Malaysian cuisine has been her dream for as long as she can remember.

“We bring the street food style from Malaysia,” she said. “Our specialty is satay, which is a grilled chicken with authentic Malaysian spices.

“The atmosphere here reminds me of Malaysian, the kindness of the people, the vibes of the nightlife and how we meet over our love of food. It has been an incredible experience.

“We’ve really connected to the community and I’m amazed and overwhelmed at how they have responded to my cooking.

Lebanese kebabs cook on open charcoal.

“The beauty of this road is the variety of people and cuisines you will find. There are Malaysian, Arab, Pakistani, Indian, French, Italian, Palestinian cultures. It is a place for everyone to come and enjoy, no matter where you come from. from. “

Birmingham’s Muslim community is one of the most diverse in the country. Its lively roots can be seen on every corner of Coventry Road during these nights.

Although food is at the forefront of Coventry Road festivities, charity and gifts also play a big role in the month of Ramadan. Charity collectors stand along the road rattling with their buckets and collecting from drivers as they pass by.

Ahmed, a charity collector who collects money from cars as they pass by on the busy Coventry Road.

Ahmed, a charity collector, spoke about the importance of giving in the holy month. He said: “We are collecting small coins to give to Yemen’s children. More than 16 million have no food or medicine, so we are trying to support them.

“We only have one month to give and we should make it count. So we have to do something to help others.”

During Ramadan, British Muslims donate over £ 150 million to the needy. This includes Zakat, which is the third pillar of Islam, where Muslims donate a fixed percentage of their wealth to charity each year and are mandatory for every Muslim.

Mr. Gully from Gully Shop set up a dessert shop and decided to donate 25% of the proceeds to charity in partnership with One Ummah and Phat Jo.

Mr. Gully, owner of The Gully Shop, a coffee and dessert bar from Sparkhill, decided to donate 25% of the proceeds from his booth to charity. For him, his dessert booth was a way to give back to the community during the holy month.

“In the month of Ramadan, it is more about giving and not about ourselves,” he said.

“Over the years, street vendors came out and offered food and burgers to celebrate Ramadan. But it’s Gully Shop’s first year here, and it’s been amazing.

“We partnered with Phat Jos and One Ummah, a charity, and will donate some of the acts to charity. We come out here and share the love and celebration of what Ramadan is truly about.

Gully Shop offers fresh donuts, tea, cakes and drinks.

“We have seen people from all walks of life come together to take in the atmosphere and enjoy the last days of Ramadan. I have seen people come from Cardiff to Scotland and the road is full of life.”

The outbreak of life continues until the early morning hours, when the queues get longer and the food suppliers’ song gets louder. Coventry Road during Ramadan offers a taste of the Middle East to South Asia – but sticks to its Brummie roots.

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