Walking 616 Miles while Fasting, and Still Smiling*
Mohammad Zaman is currently walking from Batley, Yorkshire, to London, visiting community groups and projects along the way to shine a light on ordinary people going the extra mile to bring people together. It’s an admirable adventure to embark upon – particularly as Mohammad is currently fasting for Ramadhan.
The Great Big Walk is a national movement in the form of five walks starting from Batley on 29 May to London, Cornwall, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland in the lead up to The Big Lunch, the U.K.’s annual get-together for neighbours. The five routes spanning the U.K. will stop at over 100 community projects on their way, as the walkers head home in time to join the biggest community celebration the U.K. has ever seen.
Mohammad is one of the walkers heading the 616 miles home to London, and for him, the physical challenge of fasting makes the experience a more testing one. He explained before the walk that
“it’s during Ramadhan when I’ll be fasting for 18+ hours every day, with 2.8 million U.K. Muslims. It’s going to be hard.”
At sundown on the first day of walking, Mohammad and his team were welcomed into Jamia Swafia Masjid, Wakefield, to open his fast and enjoy Iftar at the mosque, and other points on the journey have seen him lay down his prayer mat on the side of the road whilst walking to a community stop. Mohammad has previously completed a half marathon whilst fasting and is confident that his mental strength, as well as physical strength, will prevail.
In fact, Mohammad believes it is particularly important that he completes The Great Big Walk whilst observing Ramadhan: Mohammad’s Muslim faith is his guiding light and inspiration when it comes to his interactions with those around him, and it has also been his motivation when overcoming his own personal hurdles – including homelessness. As Mohammad’s faith guides him to support and celebrate community, he’s certain that it will also sustain him through The Great Big Walk which has provided a platform for him to do just that.
Mohammad says “I am dedicated to bringing positive change, hope, and peace to communities across Britain, among people from different backgrounds. The nation needs a platform to encourage bonds between us and make this country strong. I think The Great Big Walk is that platform. I want to take part and also share my experience on the walk to help build strong communities and encourage people to stand together.”
Within days, Mohammad became known for his infectious positivity and enthusiasm: when asked about his journey and his energy he responds “I’m still walking and fasting, and I’m still smiling.”
Visit thegreatbigwalk.com to find out more about Mohammad’s journey as well as tracking where him, and the other teams of walkers, are heading to next. You can join in the celebrations by supporting the walkers as they pass through your area or simply by walking in Mohammad’s footsteps – and stay smiling.
Finally, anyone who is fasting can get involved in The Big Lunch on 18 June by holding a Lunar Lunch and inviting family, neighbours, and colleagues to join you as you open your fast. You can find out more about Lunar Lunches and how to host one by going to our website, www.TheBigLunch.com, and searching for ‘Lunar Lunch,’ or by checking out The Big Iftar UK on Facebook.
The Big Lunch
The Big Lunch is the U.K.’s annual get-together for neighbours, an idea from the Eden Project. Over the past eight years, Big Lunches of all sizes have happened in all kinds of communities – in streets, back gardens, parks and local community venues. The Eden Project started The Big Lunch in 2009 with the belief that we’re better equipped to tackle the challenges we face when we face them together. In 2016 The Big Lunch was attended by over 7 million people at over 90,000 events U.K. wide and is supported by our Royal Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. We work to connect people and communities across the U.K., encouraging everyday people to make a positive change where they live.
The Great Big Walk
The Great Big Walk is a national movement connecting people and communities. Five walks will span the U.K., stopping at over 100 community projects as they go. Each stop will shine a light on the extraordinary people going the extra mile to bring their communities together as the walkers head home in time to join the biggest community celebration the U.K. has ever seen.
The walks will start on 29 June in Batley, Yorkshire, where Jo Cox was MP and will finish in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and London in time for The Big Lunch on Sunday 18 June, the highlight of The Great Get Together weekend inspired by Jo.