The Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan began on Sunday 5 May, which marked the start of a month of fasting, and celebration, finishing on 4 June. The month commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to Mohammad.
Because the Islamic calendar follows the lunar cycle, Ramadan falls at a different time each year. Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset, which means that even across the UK, the exact times of the fast will vary. While fasting, Muslims will refrain from consuming food or liquids, from smoking, and from having sexual relations. They will strive towards purity, and increase their good deeds, and perform extra prayers and recitations of the Quran.
There is traditionally a pre-sunrise meal, and a post-sunset meal.
Fasting is obligatory for adult Muslims, except for those who are who are suffering from an illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, chronically ill or menstruating.
At the end of Ramadan, there is a celebration known as Eid, which is a great festival.
WorkSmart published a guide to supporting Muslim colleagues at work during Ramadan, which applies to any Muslim. It can be a difficult month, especially if the person fasting has an arduous job, or the weather is hot, or the person is undertaking exams.
Worksmart’s tips include
- asking, not assuming
- seeing if any adjustments could be made that would be helpful
- try to avoid planning compulsory events where food will be served, and avoid offering food or drink to observing Muslims
- ensure space and time to pray are available
Other advice centres around offering solidarity to Muslims in these times of heightened aggression. Examples include:
- being aware of their safety, as they may be travelling to or from meal occasions in the dark
- planning events that a Muslim person attends in such a way that either the event finishes before sunset so that they are able to eat afterwards, or including food for them
- being considerate and not offering judgements such as ‘that sounds impossible’ when discussing the facts around fasting.
Happy Ramadan to all who are observing this month.
Cornwall Faith Forum will be celebrating Eid on Sunday 9 June, alongside the Big Lunch, and Windrush Day.
For more information, see their website.