Ramadan is a month where Muslims around the world go through a period of daily fasting from dawn to sunset. It is a month in which Muslims are encouraged to devote themselves more to prayer, reading of the Qur’an (the holy book of Islam), charity and general good deeds. This includes lengthened prayers at night.
Muslims cannot eat or drink (yes not even water!) during daylight hours throughout the month of Ramadan. However, there are certain categories of persons who are exempt, including those who are pregnant, menstruating and suffer from chronic illness.
Fasting at work
As expected, there are certain challenges associated with fasting at work during Ramadan and these often vary from person to person. Some may feel the drop in hydration is more of an obstacle than others and hunger can also have a similar effect. It can also lead to an irregular sleeping pattern due to the lengthened night prayers and potentially the early morning meal. I personally do not eat much, if at all, in the morning, therefore, often have a busy night of food and water consumption!
How employers can help
There are a variety of ways in which employees can be affected by fasting and, by extension, various ways in which they can be assisted, including:
- Working irregular hours to accommodate irregular sleep/varying levels of productivity;
- More frequent days working from home for similar reasons;
- Provision of a separate area at lunch, away from food;
- Reducing the requirement to attend certain meetings; and
- Fewer offers for lunches (however, please do invite me to as many as you can after this month!)
On a personal note, I am fortunate to have had a relatively easy period of fasting thus far and believe Ramadan provides me with an opportunity focus on bettering myself both mentally and spiritually (skipping lunch may also lead to physical improvements for me personally). I understand my experience may differ from my colleagues, however, I believe it is important to be aware that while fasting is a challenge, Ramadan is a month which Muslims look forward to and enjoy partaking in.
If you would like more information or advice on employment matters and how the Employment team can help, please email our specialist team here.