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

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

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

Heavy smokes rises from charcoal barbeques and the smell of sweet bakhoor incense fills the air. Rows of food stalls line the pavements selling burgers and hot dogs, Malaysian satay, Lebanese kebabs, desserts and Eid gifts like perfume, trainers, and clothes.

A stream of cars pass by, with those inside looking with amazement at the buzzing atmosphere as people enjoy food, shopping and happiness. With barely space to walk as waiting lines grow for the food stalls, Coventry Road turns into a hive of activity as worshipers leave night prayers from the mosque and descend to 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 where Muslims fast from sunset to sunrise for 29 to 30 days. But the day isn’t known until a moon sighting confirms it and this year it is expected to fall on Sunday or Monday.

We are in the final 10 days of Ramadan which are especially significant as on these days it will be Laylatul Qadr which means Night of Power – it is believed the Quran was revealed on one the days. But it is also a time where there is greater reward in acts of kindness and charity.

Food blogger from Derby, Mohsin Hussain visits Coventry Road in Small Heath during Ramadan.

The famous Coventry Road festivities have brought people from all walks of life together with some coming from across the country to try the street food vendors. Food reviewer Mohsin Hussain, known by the online name of BeardedMo, brought along his family from Derby to soak up the uplifting atmosphere.

“I saw Coventry Road all over social media and I just thought I have to come here and try it out,” he said. “There’s only a few more days of Ramadan and we came out a little treat.

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

“After breaking our fast, we went to get some gifts for my nieces, mother and sister because there’s just so much on offer here. And the atmosphere is absolutely electric.”

Fancy goods in almanaar shop on Coventry Rd.

The Almanaar Islamic shop is one many stores open till late and is heaving with shoppers looking for their Eid outfits and gifts. Aisles of men and women’s clothing, jewellery, perfumes, scarves, Eid bunting and banners, prayer mats and beads, boxes of sweets and bakalava and honey as well as home furnishings.

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

“There’s so many choice of gifts for Ramadan and Eid which is why it get’s so busy during this period. The Islamic ornaments, clothing for men and women and gifts are quite popular so they are go fast during Ramadan.”

This one stop shop for Eid gifts has something for all the family. It’s dazzling outside display captures shoppers offering every goods from every corner of the world like Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates.

Ika Muji owner of Malaysia street food, Satay Birmingham, who opened only 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’re bringing the street food style of Malaysia,” she said. “Our specialty is satay which is a barbeque chicken with authentic Malaysian spices.

“The atmosphere here reminds me of Malaysian, the goodness of the people, the night life vibes and how we come together over our love of food. It’s been an incredible experience.

“We’ve been really connecting to the community and I’m surprised and overwhelmed at how they reacted to my cooking.

Lebanese kebabs cooking on open charcoal fire.

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

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

Although the food is at the forefront of Coventry Road’s festivities, charity and giving plays a large role in the month of Ramadan too. Charity collectors line the road and rattle their buckets collecting from drivers as they pass by.

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

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

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

During the month of 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 every year and is compulsory upon every Muslim.

Mr Gully from Gully Shop set up a dessert stall and decided to donate 25% of proceedings to charity in collaboration with One Ummah and Phat Jo.

Mr Gully, owner of The Gully Shop, a coffee and dessert parlor from Sparkhill, decided to donate 25% of proceedings from his stall to charity. For him, his dessert stall was a way to give back to society during the holy month.

“In the month of Ramadan it’s 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 this is Gully Shop’s first year here and it’s been amazing.

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

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

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

The burst of life continues into the early hours of the morning with lines getting longer and the singing of the food vendors getting louder. Coventry Road during Ramadan offers a taste of the Middle East to South Asia – but keeping true to it’s Brummie roots.

To keep up with all the latest news during Ramadan across Birmingham you can sign up to our Brummie Muslims newsletter. It’s free and delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up here.


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