My office is a flurry of sponsorship opportunities at the moment. Our chosen charity partner of choice is Macmillan - an excellent charity – and we are all encouraged to raise as much money for them as possible. Things are coming to something of a crescendo at the moment, and you can barely move for people wanting to strip you of your cash for some event or another, be it a sponsored rubber duck race in the trent, a charity walk or some crazy fool doing 7 marathons in 7 days.
I suppose it’s inevitable, amidst all this activity, that a certain amount of charity fatigue sets in. Lots of people have their own preferred charities, and it’s easy to become mildly resentful about being forced to raised money for the corporately approved charity. I actually got slightly frowned at for electing to run the half marathon for a DIFFERENT charity, as though every penny I raise for the MS Society is a penny that I’m taking away from a cancer sufferer (although, to be fair, my company are matching the first £500 I’ve raised for the MS Society, so I’m not grumbling too loudly).
I saw a poster today for a sponsorship activity that made me raise an eyebrow: a guy in our department is doing a sponsored fast for Ramadan. Now, it’s definitely different and I’m sure that every penny he raises will be put to good use by Macmillan…. But is that really what Ramadan is supposed to be about?
Mind you, I’m hardly an expert on Islamic culture, and a quick visit to wikipedia tells me that “charity is very important in Islam, and even more so during Ramadan. According to tradition, Ramadan is a particularly blessed time to give in charity, as the reward is 70 times greater than any other time of the year.”
So what do I know? Maybe Mohammed would approve. One question though: if the reward for giving to charity is 70 times greater at this time of year, is some kind of Islamic Gift Aid?