Ramadan: A Month for Billions
28th April 2023, by Owais Mokhtar
Ramadan Kareem to all my fellow Muslims who have observed this year’s month of Ramadan.
For those of you who are not that familiar with Ramadan, this month is one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar. It is a month that Muslims all around the world partake in, by fasting between sunrise (Suhoor/Sehri) and sunset (Iftar). That means no food or water – yes, NO WATER! It is also a time for reflection on the blessing we face of having food, water and shelter so readily available and giving back to our community, family, friends and others around the world that may be struggling. Being a Muslim myself, I can 100% resonate with the struggles of waking up to eat food at 4am and then bracing yourself for the workday ahead. Nevertheless, the fasting month has flown by very quickly and Eid was just around the corner, with some celebrating it on Friday 21st April and others on Saturday 22nd April.
Personally, for me Ramadan has gone by quicker than any other year. The weather has been kind to us with it not being too warm and not too cold. My fondest memories this month have been family Iftar get-togethers. And, with the restrictions of COVID being gone, getting to break my fast with my grandmother this year.
I have an even bigger respect for people who fast in non-fasting work environments (like myself) because smelling coffee and tea throughout the day and seeing your colleagues indulge in their snacks is much harder than you would imagine, but not impossible.
With Ramadan being over, I have learnt in a working environment that there is so much that employers can do for people who are fasting. For one, All Spring Media allowed me to start later in the day, as I am not taking any lunch breaks. That flexibility was so helpful for me in having an extra hour of rest to get ready for the work day, after waking up in the early hours of the morning for sehri. Here are some of my tips that employers could implement during Ramadan:
1. Make room for flexible working hours – As we aren’t eating or drinking throughout the day, there is no need for us to take a lunch break. So during Ramadan, employers could allow the flexibility of their Muslim employees to start later or leave earlier to get home in time for iftar.
2. Be flexible with leave – As we often don’t know when Eid is until the last few hours of the last fast. Employers can help by being more flexible with leave on short notice.
3. Avoid evening meetings – If you have late evening meetings or work events, try rescheduling them for earlier so your Muslim employees have enough time to rest and prepare for iftar.
Ramadan Mubarak for the month that has just passed and Eid Mubarak for whichever day you celebrated Eid 🥳