Ramadan is a holy month for over 1.8 billion Muslims across the world. During Ramadan, Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset, refraining from eating foods, as well as avoiding anger, lying, cheating, and trying to practice patience. As an inclusive employer, it’s important to be mindful and accommodating to our Muslim peers.
When does Ramadan start?
Ramadan starts when the crescent moon is seen, this year it will be the 12th or 13th of April 2021. Some people start fasting on different days, this is based on the different rules for sighting the moon in the different groups in the religion.
How to support your colleagues during Ramadan?
During Ramadan, it is important to remember that employees will be lacking sleep. This is because Muslims will be carrying out extra prayers and reading the Quran after opening their fast at sunset. They will also be waking up early to start their fast at sunrise, this leads to a broken sleeping pattern and lack of sleep.
They may also be low on energy, this is because they are not eating as much food as usual which reduces the amount of energy they will have during the day. Lack of energy and sleep can affect their concentration levels throughout the day. However, not everyone will have the same reaction or be affected in the same way. For example, some may feel they can concentrate more than others. The best way to find out how to support your colleagues during Ramadan is by talking to them and trying to get an understanding of what you can do to help them during this month.
One way employers can help support their employees during Ramadan is by making working hours flexible. This gives your employees the opportunity to work at times of the day that they feel most energized/productive.
Another way you can help support your employees during Ramadan is by allowing them to work from home. Working from home helps employees who are fasting, this could be because it saves them having to wake up early to travel to work or even just allows them to get the work done while taking small breaks during the day. If working from home is not an option, employers could also allow their employees to take regular, short breaks or even having shorter days.
Fasting in the workplace
Most Muslims are comfortable with people around them eating, so don’t feel awkward or apologize excessively for eating or wanting to eat around them. If you forget they are fasting and accidentally ask them if they are joining you for lunch, they will not feel offended and will simply remind you that they are fasting.
Many Muslims enjoy talking about Ramadan and would love to answer any questions you have about it, however, these are some questions to avoid asking: ‘You cant even drink water?’, ‘Do you not get hungry?’ and ‘You don’t eat for a whole month?’.
These are common questions Muslims get asked every year during Ramadan which they may feel are annoying. These questions seem annoying because yes, of course, they feel hungry and thirsty while fasting but they have made the choice themselves to fast for this month and they strongly believe in this. If you are unsure as to why Muslims fast in Ramadan and want to get a better understanding of the basics of it, feel free to ask a colleague, they would love to answer.
This article has been written by Imaan Faki, who is a Muslim and Actively Fasting Marketing Assistant.