Supporting your Muslim co-workers during Ramadan.
Learn what you can do to support your Muslim co-workers during Ramadan. At Sandicliffe we empower equality in all our locations around the world.
Apr 01, 2022
Supporting your Muslim co-workers this Ramadan
At Sandicliffe, everyone is welcome, no matter their race, religion or ethnicity. Discover how you can support your Muslim coworkers during this year’s Ramadan.
At Sandicliffe, we are incredibly proud of our multicultural family of co-workers. With Ramadan approaching, we thought it was the perfect time to explain the festival to those who don’t celebrate.
We also wanted to offer some tips for non-celebrating colleagues to help them support their Muslim co-workers this Ramadan. This year, it is due to start on either Friday (8th April) or Saturday (9th April) next week. As a result, many of your Muslim colleagues will already be preparing for Ramadan.
There are 12 months in the Muslim calendar, but these months are based on the lunar cycle, so they move back roughly 10 days per year compared to our own. Where our calendar has static months with the same number of days every year, the months in the lunar calendar are either 29 or 30 days and will move depending on the position of the moon.
Ramadan is the name of a month in Arabic. Because of the way the Muslim calendar works, it is difficult to accurately predict the start of Ramadan. The beginning of Ramadan is dictated by the arrival of the new moon. This is spotted and updated to Muslims by the internet or through their communication channels within their communities.
There are five main pillars of the Muslim faith. These are profession of faith (shahada), prayer five times a day (salat), paying alms and giving a percentage of your earnings to charity (zakat), visiting Mecca at least once in a lifetime (hajj) and fasting during the month of Ramadan (sawm).
During Ramadan breakfast (Suhoor) is held before the first light. This means that it usually takes place around 3 AM. After breakfast, people will not eat again until sunset. However, there are exemptions to the fasting side of Ramadan.
These exemptions include children prior to puberty, the elderly or those with medical conditions like diabetes that would make it unhealthy to fast. Women on their periods and those who fall ill during Ramadan are also exempt, but they have to make up these fasting days later on in the year.
The month of Ramadan is a physical and spiritual cleanse where Muslims refocus and reflect. It is a demonstration of their thankfulness for what they have. During Ramadan, Muslims will sacrifice eating, drinking, smoking, sexual interaction and Medication (if taken orally) between the first light and sunset.
As humans, we tend to plan our days around eating and attending our next meal. So, by fasting during Ramadan, members of the Muslim faith instead spend this time focusing on other things, such as prayer and reconnecting with their faith. People will also give up personal pleasures like games consoles and TV.
During Ramadan, Muslims will spend the time that they have gained back attending additional prayers and reading the Quran each day. They will also attend communal prayers and eat together after sunset when the fasting has ceased for the day. People also come to the UK from all over the world to host guest lectures at mosques.
This creates a real sense of community within the Muslim faith, as everyone is coming together for a shared celebration. Ramadan ends when the new moon is spotted, signalling the start of the new month. If the moon is sighted on the 29th night, fasting will continue until day 30.
Eid begins when Ramadan has finished. Eid is a celebration with great food, family and friends. Gifts are given and good times are had. Eid is not a celebration that Ramadan is over. Instead, it celebrates the achievement of a month of self-sacrifice and self-analysis.
Ramadan should not interfere with your co-workers performing their regular tasks, but fasting colleagues may have less energy during the day. The first ten days of Ramadan are usually the hardest, so don’t be shy about asking your Muslim co-workers if there is anything you can do to make any aspect of their day easier.
Some of your co-workers may ask to change their working hours or take a shorter lunch. This will allow them to be home on time to break their fast with friends and family. You can help make this easier for your co-workers by avoiding scheduling meetings and events during lunchtime or evenings.
The last 10 days of Ramadan are also considered to be particularly holy. As a result, some of your Muslim co-workers may take time off to focus on prayer and reflection. If there is a mosque nearby, some people may choose to visit during the day. If there is not that luxury available, employers can help by ensuring there is a quiet space for prayers and allowing regular prayer breaks.
If you have questions about Ramadan, don’t be afraid to ask your co-workers. By sharing all of our cultures and experiences with each other, we can continue to make Sandicliffe a welcoming and friendly place for all of our staff and customers.
This Ramadan, we would like to wish all of our Muslim colleagues and customers and everyone else who is fasting in the UK: Ramadan Mubarak!