What is Ramadan (Ramzan, رمضان)?


Ramadan will begin next week. 

“Not even water?” tends to be the first question asked with a sense of pity. Yes, Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramadan. Most Muslims will, however, tell you that that is the incorrect sentiment to have. For many, Ramadan is the most precious month of the year that far outweighs the other months. It is less about physical fasting than it is about spiritual fasting of the soul such as abstaining from wrongful acts, anger, violence, gossiping, backbiting, arguing etc. It is the time of year for a full detox of the health and mind. 

We live in a society where everything is easily accessible, and one in which there is an excess of food and resources. This month allows us to cut back on living extravagantly and to try and understand what it is like to live with only what we need. We focus on being mindful; mindful of our eating habits, how we spend our time, the way we interact with others, our mental health, improving our character and being grateful. 

Ramadan ultimately teaches you that when you can abstain from that which is permissible (i.e. food and drink) you have the power, control, discipline and strength to abstain from that which is impermissible throughout the year. It is the battery that keeps us re-charged for the remaining 11 months. 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Muslim colleagues, friends and neighbours if you have any questions about Ramadan or how you can support them - sometimes the smallest act can have the biggest impact. 

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Few points of interest at the work place during the month of Ramadan:

- Ramadan starts next week, this means your #Muslim coworkers will be in “Angel Mode”, in their best behaviour, no cursing, and from sun rise to sun set no food no water, no smoking, no intimacy. More spiritual, cheerful, charitable and forgiving.

- Your Muslim co-workers consider this month as a joyous one, spiritually and socially, many families only pray together and sit at the same dinner table during this month. Don’t let the idea of fasting and hunger make you think otherwise.

- Your Muslim colleague has most likely had her/his last meal and drink before sunrise, so send work tasks and engage them early in the morning, before their energy levels dwindle in the afternoon. In the morning they are not distracted by snacks and coffee.

- Muslims believe that fasting brings them blessings and rewards from Allah, so they don’t expect accommodation, but some gestures are surely welcomed, allowing them flexible hours, to work when they are most productive, not plan very important events or long intensive meetings late in the afternoons etc.

- You might notice some Muslim colleagues shying away from in person conversations. Dry mouth, the result of long hours of fasting will naturally affect the smell of their breath. Now you understand.

- If you see a Muslim colleague eat or drink in secret, it’s because few are permitted to do so, for health concerns, pregnancy etc. The tradition is to do so discreetly, out of consideration for those who are fasting.

- If you’re helping a charity, this is the best time to invite your Muslim colleagues to donate, being extra charitable is the tradition in this month.

- Fasting makes most people cranky! It's challenging to be in your cheerful best behaviour everyday, its a 30 day bootcamp, some days are easier than others.

That’s it, you’re now Ramadan Savvy !

Wishing everyone a blessed Ramadan inshaAllah (God willing). 


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