Supporting colleagues taking part in Ramadan

In our latest member voice article, community pharmacist and PDA rep, Hala Jawad shares how colleagues can be supportive and understanding to those taking part in Ramadan which is a holy month in the Islamic calendar. This year, Ramadan started approximately on 12 April and will run until 11 May 2021*.

Wed 28th April 2021 The PDA

Ramadan

Most of you will be aware of Ramadan but what does it actually represent? It remembers the month that the Qur’an (our Muslim holy book) was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The date of Ramadan varies from year to year as it is based on a Lunar calendar and follows the cycles of the moon.

It is considered to be a holy month where Muslims should abstain from food and drink (including water) between dawn and sunset. This can be a very long period if Ramadan falls during the summer months. During the day, we are expected to feed our spirits with acts of forgiveness, charity, self-examination, and prayers. The fasting is preceded by a meal known as suhur or suhoor before sunrise and ends after sunset with the breaking of the fast meal, known as iftar.

Supporting colleagues

As would be expected, fasting may cause tiredness or a lack of energy during the day. This can be compounded by an early wakening for the pre-fast meal. I am always grateful for the support and understanding that my colleagues display during Ramadan; it demonstrates the wonderful acceptance of diversity and inclusion that is part of many companies.

Here are a few tips to offer support, if you are unsure about how Ramadan may be affecting your Muslim colleagues:

  • Do not make assumptions about who might be observing Ramadan – Islam is a faith that welcomes people of all races & backgrounds. Appreciate that not all Muslims may be fasting due to personal reasons but will still be observing some of the other aspects of the month.
  • Be aware that we may be a little less energetic or quieter at times!
  • Don’t feel anxious about making a cup of tea or eating your lunch.
  • If colleagues are working remotely or alone in another part of the building, take the opportunity to check on their wellbeing.
  • If you are unsure about anything relating to Ramadan – just ask. Maybe ask what Ramadan means to us and our families rather than focusing just on what we are not permitted to do.

Eid

The end of Ramadan is celebrated with Eid-ul-Fitr which is the festival of fast-breaking. It is a big celebration whereby Muslims celebrate the end of fasting but also thank Allah for the strength he gave us throughout Ramadan. Mosques will hold a special service in the morning, then we have a special meal – this is the first daytime meal for a month! We celebrate the day by dressing in our best clothes, give gifts to children and spend time with family and friends. It is also a time to give money to charities. The festival itself may continue for two to three days.

Obviously, this year, some things may be different due to Covid-19 restrictions. My Eid wishes during the pandemic will be for everyone to stay safe, protect themselves and loved ones and act responsibly.

Thank you to everyone for being supportive during this time. It is appreciated.

 

By Hala Jawad, Community Pharmacist and PDA rep, 

 

*Please note: The start and end of Ramadan depends on the sighting of the new moon.

Learn more

More information about Ramadan can be found on the BBC Asian Network website.

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Learn about the PDA Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Networks and how you can join them, here.   

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