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/ 23 Mar 2023

Supporting colleagues & clients during Ramadan

Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, is observed by billions of Muslims throughout the world. We caught up with trainee Imana Rashid who provided useful insights into how those not observing Ramadan can be more inclusive in supporting their Muslim colleagues and clients throughout the month.

Firstly, can you tell us a bit about Ramadan?

 

Yes, so it’s a month-long period where we fast from sunrise to sunset. During that time, we can’t eat or drink anything. It’s the month where we believe that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed.

We are meant to be the best version of ourselves especially during this period, by doing lots of good deeds, giving charity etc.

 

How long does Ramadan last?

One month, depending on the lunar calendar.  When we sight the new moon that’s when Ramadan is over, as the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar.

So, for instance, in Saudi, when the new moon is sighted a formal announcement is made telling Muslims when Eid will be.  Oh, by the way an announcement is also made prior to Ramadan starting.

 

So, Eid is at the end of Ramadan?

Ah, but there are two Eid’s.

This Eid which is called Eid Al-Fitr is to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

The second Eid is called Eid Al-Adha this happens at the end of our observed Pilgrimage Period (Hajj) which is later in the year.

 

Are you able to work during this period of Ramadan?

Yes. We can go about our normal day, in the past I was sitting my exams… it doesn’t stop us from doing what we need to do. However we can be sleep deprived, because for us during this period the most powerful time is the night and that’s when we do prayers.  The time when we wake up to start our fast is called Suhoor and we eat a meal before the sun rises and then from then on our fast begins for the day until sunset.  We do get thirsty especially as the weather gets warmer, but we’re not supposed to drink anything.

 

Is everyone expected to fast?

Not everyone, there are a number of health / medical reasons that someone may choose not to. If someone is diabetic or pregnant for instance, they are not expected to fast, but they can if they want to, or alternatively they can make the time up later on. Everyone will have their own personal reason as to whether they are or not, so it is best not to ask your colleagues or clients, unless they share this with you.

 

Will you be working normal hours?

Yes, I will be working my normal hours, however Hanne has agreed that I can work days at home during this period.  WFH allows me to conserve my energy because I won’t need to travel into the office. I will be using the time to rest before commencing my workday.

On a personal note, on those wfh days, I’ll be able to get ready and help to prepare Iftaar, which is the evening meal to break our fast.  It will also give me the opportunity to visit the mosque in the evening and be with my local community.

 

Are you able to attend evening network events?

For this month, I will be taking a step back from attending any networking events, especially during the evening as that is when we break our fast.

At the moment we break our fast at 6.21pm, but when the clocks go forward this weekend it will be 7.21pm, at this point the days do feel longer. In my experience, and I’m sure I’m not alone, when I first begin Ramadan which will be today (Thursday 23rd), I’ll be full of energy, but as the month goes on my energy levels will likely drop.

 

What happens at the end of the Ramadan?

Eid.  Celebrating the end of Ramadan.  In my family we get dressed up, spend the day with friends and family eating and playing games, especially as we have little children in our family. We try to make it as fun as possible. We give gifts, decorate the house, and generally have a good time.

 

Is there anything that those of us at work who are not Muslim should be aware of during this time of Ramadan?

It is mostly the fact that at the end of the day we will rush off as we need to get home in time to break our fast.

Oh yes! People shouldn’t apologise for eating in front of me, but just go about their normal lunch hour and enjoy their meal.

 

Is there anything we should be aware about in respect to our clients who may be part of this period of fasting?

Yes, ask your colleagues and clients when they would prefer to have meetings.  Some may prefer mornings as opposed to later in the afternoon if they are feeling low on energy. Alternatively others others may want to avoid early mornings if they have woken early to open the fast. Open communication is key. Another tip would be to consider holding meetings online during this period, and avoiding Friday lunch-time meetings if you can as many Muslims observe prayers in the Mosque.

 

From everyone at Hanne & Co, we would like to wish everyone Ramadan Mubarak or Ramadan Kareem.

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