It is the month of Ramadan (also spelled Ramadhan or Ramazan) and millions of Muslims worldwide are observing this holy month with fasting, community reflection and prayer.
IfATE colleagues Musaddika Ahmedabadi and Shahban Aziz have offered some tips on how to support colleagues, stakeholders and students who are observing the fast.
Tips from Musaddika and Shahban
Managers to allow flexible working for your Muslim staff. Similarly, if a Muslim is not fasting there may be a reason. However, they may still want to work flexibly because of the night prayers as they may want to focus on their spiritual side.
Muslim colleagues and stakeholders may be working shorter days, change their 'normal working hours' or may take annual leave. Everyone has different preference so please liaise with individuals first.
Be conscious that energy levels of those who are fasting will vary throughout the day, so please liaise with your colleagues/stakeholders before placing any meetings. Understanding will generate positive energy and goodwill.
Be mindful when you are in the office. Do you really need a working lunch meeting while your colleague or stakeholder is fasting?
Whilst Muslims will be fasting throughout the whole month, you may wish to voluntarily fast for one day from sunrise to sunset. This can help build solidarity as well as help understand the situation of millions of those who do not have multiple meals a day.
Whilst sunset is relatively late in April (around 8pm), if you are with colleagues who are fasting (for example at an overnight event or conference), then you may wish to consider opening the fast together. Ramadan is about community and sharing - and so this is an opportunity to chat and eat together when the fast opens.
Feel free to ask a Muslim colleague how they are doing and how they are finding fasting - Ramadan encourages positivity, open dialogue and sharing.