About Ramadan

Ramadan is a special time where Muslims put more effort into following the teachings of Islam. The month is a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and heightened devotion and worship. The month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar, it lasts for 29/30 days. The Islamic calendar is based around the lunar cycle, meaning that Ramadhan will move back by 10 days, each year. For example, the month of Ramadan begun in mid-April this year (2021) and so will begin in early April next year.

Throughout the month Muslims will fast for roughly 16 hours a day, from closing the fast at around 3am to opening it at around 8pm. During the fasting period of the day, Muslims will not eat, drink or smoke at all. Many Muslims will commit to additional night prayers for one or two hours where they will complete the recitation of the entire Quran in prayer and engage in a lot of self-reflection and supplication.

The ethos behind this amazing month is to gain a closeness to Allah (God), learn the art of staying away from sinful disliked actions, rid oneself of the illnesses of the heart, and purify the soul, repair relationship and increase in generosity. This month is believed to be the greatest month of the year which requires key ingredients like effort, sacrifices, discipline, and reflection for the purpose of growth.

A typical day for Muslim person fasting:

  • The fast begins at dawn. Just prior to dawn people will have Suhoor, this is the meal before fast begins. Some will have a simple date and water and others will have full meal, including curries. Dawn at the beginning of the Ramadhan is around 3:30am and will move back to around 1:30am towards the later stages of the month.
  • Muslims pray 5 prayers every day all year round, and this is continued throughout Ramadan. The 1st prayer at dawn, 2nd being at midday 3rd at the late part of the afternoon, the 4th at sun set and the 5th later in the evening, typically before midnight.
  • At sun Set the fasting will end with a meal, and the 4th prayer.
  • In the evening, after the 5th prayer, an additional prayer will take place that only occurs during Ramadan. This is longer than the other prayers and can last anywhere between one hour and one hour and 30 minutes. In this prayer Muslims will complete reading all 30 chapters of the Quran (the holy book of Islam) from memory.
  • Throughout the month Muslims will increase how much they pray, giving charity and self-reflection.
  • The last 10 nights of Ramadhan are extra special and people will increase their worship during these nights, many people will also take time away from work in this time to put extra focus into their worship.
  • Eid is then celebrated for 3 days after Ramadhan. It is the first of the 2 Eid’s (the other being celebrated several months after Ramadan). Eid is the celebration given to Muslims by god to celebrate all the efforts made in the month of Ramadhan

Questions you may have

Can you drink water?

During the fasting period of the day Muslims will not eat, drink or smoke.

How do you manage?

Many Muslims have grown up doing it from a young age. Young children may choose to fast during the weekend or keep half a fast (dawn to midday), this is a thing many young children wish to do so they can be a part of what adults do. This means by the time you become an adult you are used to it.

As there is such a sense of community around Ramadhan, the spirit created makes it easier. Muslims will encourage each other. They will go out their way to support each other. At home people will pull together and work as team on day to day things.

Fasting in it its nature is not easy, regardless of the reason you are doing it. Muslims understand this so although it may not be always easy, they push on and know that they will be rewarded by god for it.

Do children have to fast?

Children do not have to fast, but some may choose to fast on weekends and half days. Adults who are ill or have to take medication also do not have to fast. A pregnant lady does not have to fast if she chooses not to.

When does Ramadhan start/ end?

The month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar, it lasts for 29/30 days. The Islamic calendar is based around the lunar cycle, meaning that Ramadhan will move back by 10 days, each year. For example, the month of Ramadan begun in mid-April this year (2021) and so will begin in early April next year.

How can employers and services offer their support?

(This advice is transferable to everyday life, not just in the workplace).

 

  1. Be flexible with working hours and appointments. Due to fasting and night prayers Muslims observing Ramadan will have broken or less sleep. Where possible offer options to have later appointments.  People may also request later starts from managers and finish later. Others may prefer to start earlier and finish later.
  2. Muslims will be fasting so they may not be eating during their lunch breaks, however many may use this time to spend in prayer.
  3. Productivity levels may differ. When working with someone who is observing Ramadan, their productivity levels may change. If you notice they are losing concentration offer a short break.
  4. Feel free to ask any questions you have, Muslims would love to answer any questions you have and share their religion with you.