A focus on Ramadan
Saad Edhy, a Manager in our Business Services team reflects on the importance of Ramadan, how it is observed, how colleagues can be supportive and the Eid al-Fitr celebrations that follow.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, and observing this holy month is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is observed by Muslims worldwide as a time of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community. All adult Muslims are required to fast during this month from dawn to sunset every day however exemptions are available for people who are sick, travelling, elderly etc. Fasting is one of the most well-known elements of observing Ramadan, but these other elements are also important such as abstaining from sinful behaviour like lying, backbiting, fighting or being disrespectful, cruel or selfish.
Ramadan is a time for self-reflection and for being closer to God. We work on being more patient, more tolerant and more mindful of the people around us; the aim is to become a better person. Many Muslims also donate money to charities to help the less fortunate.
We also have five daily prayers that are part of the core of Islam, and in addition we recite a special prayer called the Tarawih prayer (night prayer) during the month of Ramadan. Further we try to recite the holy book (Quran).
Working during Ramadan can be a challenge given that fasting means that we eat before sunrise. Waking up at around 4am is a shock to the system, but it becomes easier as the month progresses.
You can support your Muslim colleagues during Ramadan by understanding how it is observed. I do not get enough sleep so it’s helpful when others remember this and consider it. Working from home does make things better. Ultimately, communication is key and you should always talk to your colleagues to better understand each other.
From observing Ramadan over the years, I have learnt true self-discipline. It has also given me the chance to be close to God and to thank him for the all the blessings I have.
To mark the end of Ramadan, we celebrate Eid al-Fitr (translates as ‘the festival of the breaking of the fast’). Once we see the moon on the final day of Ramadan, we thank God for allowing us the chance to observe Ramadan by having early morning prayers the very next day and gather together with friends and family for food and festivities. People also wear new clothes as a way of celebration. It is a fitting way to round off what is a rewarding though very challenging few weeks.