In this #YesSheCan blog we talk about what Ramadan is, how it is celebrated and how you can be an ally to your fellow muslims.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is a very important time for Muslim. This month is observed by Muslims all around the world as a month of fasting, reflection, prayer, community, and charity.
Ramadan is an annual occurrence and is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, these pillars are what form the basis of how Muslims go about their lives. The other pillars are faith, prayer, charity and the pilgrimage of Mecca.
Ramadan lasts for around twenty-nine to thirty days – the beginning and end of the month is determined by the crescent moon.
In this month, it is obligatory for Muslims to fast, which consists of not eating or drinking during the hours of daylight. However, it is not obligatory for children, pregnant women, elderly people, those who are ill (mentally or physically) and those who are travelling to fast.
Ramadan doesn’t start on the same day every year as Islam follows a calendar based on the cycles of the moon. This year 2022, Ramadan will begin in the evening on the 2nd of April and will end on the 1st of May (This may vary depending on the moon).
Ramadan starts when the new moon first appears, so the full moon marks the middle part of Ramadan and when the moon wanes to other side that is when Ramadan ends.
Ramadan is celebrated in many ways. Most Muslims fast from dawn to sunset.
The reason for fasting is that it allows Muslims to be able to fully devote themselves to their fate. Ramadan is thought to teach self-discipline and to also remind people of the poor and their suffering.
People also make a special effort to connect more with their communities during this month.
During Ramadan, it is common to have two meals – one just before dawn which is known as ‘Suhoor’ another just after sunset which is knows as ‘Iftaar’.
During this month almost all Muslims attempt to give up bad habits, as it is time for prayer and good deeds. People try to spend more time with their friends and family and also be conscious of those in need and do their best to help them.
The end of Ramadan is a time for a big celebration which is called ‘Eid-ul-Fitr’. This celebration is to celebrate not only the end of fasting, but the strength and patience that Allah has given them in the previous month.
During this celebration Muslims dress in new clothes, spend time with their loved ones and give gifts to children, and give money to charity.
1.It would be better not to assume who does and doesn’t observe Ramadan by appearance or ethnicity as not everyone who you may think is Muslim IS Muslim and vice versa not everyone who you think isn’t Muslim ISN’T Muslim.
2. It may also be better to not assume that people who are Muslims are fasting as there are many Muslims for whom fasting is not obligatory.
3. Another way you could be an ally is by recognising that every walk of faith is not the same, so people may practice their faith different from what you may know, have heard or have read. So, try not to assume and maybe just ask and learn.
4. If you are curious and want to know more about Ramadan, at appropriate times you could ask your Muslims colleagues/employees (self-identified) about Ramadan, what it means to them and how you can support them.
5. It may be better as a manager/leader to try and schedule the more challenging/intricate tasks, meetings etc earlier in the day as the employees observing Ramadan are likely to have more energy during the early hours of the day and they energy would be decreasing as the day continues on.
6. During Ramadan it would be best to try and avoid work lunches or lunch meetings – this doesn’t mean you can’t have lunch meeting at all but if it includes a Muslim who is observing Ramadan it wouldn’t be inclusive to do so.