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However, if you are asking and expecting a dissertation-level response — or even a response that can be provided by a quick Google search — please remember that not every Muslim knows all the rules of Islam or has answers to your questions about Ramadan. It’s unfair and can be burdensome to expect any one person to educate you. Please, spare us the reaction of extreme shock and disbelief.
Ramadan is the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, a time for spiritual connection and engaging more deeply with faith and spirituality through personal reflection, additional prayer, fasting from food and drink between sunrise and sunset, reading of the Qur’an, and increased charity, to name a few.
The actual significance of this month and how one engages with it will vary person to person, as it should — because experiences of faith and spirituality are intensely individualized, even if we engage in religious practices shared by nearly 1.6 billion Muslims around the world.
Some will appreciate not being around you while you eat, whereas I actually feel less hungry when others around me are eating. In fact, I used to always watch cooking shows while fasting when I was growing up because it helped me feel less hungry. Fasting is a part of many faith traditions, and it varies in its practice and purpose. Instead, ask thoughtful, open-ended questions about what fasting/Ramadan means to the person. Fasting during Ramadan is a faith practice and spiritual experience, not about weight management. If you’re a manager or supervisor, chat with your employees about flexible work hours that may be conducive to their altered eating and sleeping schedules, such as work-from-home days or coming in later so that they can get extra rest in the morning.
The point is: Different people have different preferences. In addition, twisting it to be about weight supports a culture of thinspiration and fatphobia that is harmful and destructive, especially if you don’t know an individual’s history. This comment once again reduces fasting to being an experience solely around abstaining from food and drink instead of seeing it as a time for personal reflection through this abstinence. Be conscientious of how much physical energy is required for an activity or outing you may propose, the time of day in which meetings or events may fall, and the settings in which you are doing them.
ear supportive (non-Muslim) friends, family, and coworkers, As the holy month of Ramadan falls upon us again, in a time when Islamophobia is on the rise in the most subtle and overt of ways, we know that some of you are working hard to support your Muslim friends and colleagues.
We know that you mean well (or so we assume), but you may not always be having the impact you intend, so here are some Ramadan basics — do’s and don’t’s so that you can truly support those of us fasting during Ramadan!Check in (with Google or people) around when Eid-ul-Fitr may fall to ensure that important work meetings or events are not scheduled at the same time, especially if your colleagues/employees will take time off.If the work meetings/events are inflexible, chat with your employee about how they can still participate (sending agenda items or thoughts beforehand) or receive information and updates thereafter.It implicitly communicates that you perceive our practice as a deviation from some norm (probably Christian hegemony).Islam is a religion of 1.57 billion followers, many of whom fast during Ramadan, so this practice is pretty normal for approximately a quarter of the world’s population.Remember that fasting is not solely about abstaining from food and drink, but is more so about reflection, prayer, and connection with God.Hunger and thirst are regular reminders of being in a state of fasting, which serves to remind us to reflect and engage spiritually.The experience of fasting is also meant to remind us of how many in our world experience hunger every day, which in turn encourages us to give charity. If you’re a manager or supervisor, chat with your employees about flexible work hours that may be conducive to their altered eating and sleeping schedules, such as work-from-home days or coming in later so that they can get extra rest in the morning.I recommend asking your Muslim friend or colleague what they prefer. Feel free to relate in, but don’t equate experiences. Ask a specific person if they need or want anything from you and how can you support them. Some things to keep in mind include the following: We may be tired and/or cranky (even hangry) from lack of sleep, food, and water. Be open to the possibility of an employee napping in their office during a lunch hour — it can really help us get through the day!Evening events may be challenging if they overlap with the time to break fast and/or pray.Because people who fast during Ramadan may also pray during the five allotted times per day, let your staff know which spaces (such as a conference room) can be used for prayer.