Ramadan is a really exciting time for me. A lot of focus is put onto fasting. Fasting is very important but it’s about more than just that. We’re all so busy living our lives that we often take a lot of things and people for granted. Ramadan helps us take time to think and appreciate what we have and help those that are less fortunate than us.
I wanted to share about what Ramadan means to me and how others can help support those observing Ramadan make their month a peaceful and blessed one.
What is Ramadan, and when is it observed?
Ramadan is the most important month and time of the year for a Muslim and is one of the 5 pillars of Islam.
During this month, Muslims abstain from eating and drinking anything, including water, from sunrise to sunset.
This year, Ramadan started on the 23rd March 2023 and is due to finish on the 21st April or the 22nd April 2023. The date varies depending on when the full moon is sighted, as this is what is used to determine when Eid is.
As Muslims, we observe Ramadan for two main reasons:
- This is the month the Holy Qur’an was revealed to our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
- The other reason is to do more good deeds and think about the less fortunate, as this is the month when we believe all good deeds are significantly multiplied.
Whenever we talk about our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and use his name, we always say ‘peace be upon him’ which is why you’ll always see (pbuh) after his name.
What does a Muslim person’s day look like during Ramadan?
A Muslim's day during Ramadan is simple, peaceful and blessed.
As we look to appreciate what we have and help those less fortunate, we give a lot to charity with regard to clothing, food and necessities.
We also help out our families, colleagues and neighbours, usually by offering food or help when they need it.
We do our 5 daily prayers as usual for any time of the year but spend much more time during prayers. We spend a lot of time getting closer to God. We have one extra special prayer called Taraweeh, where we pray and finish the Holy Qur’an in congregation.
At sunrise, this is when we can break our fast. Most Muslim people will break their fast with a date and water.
During Ramadan, you need to adapt to a sleeping pattern that is not what you’re normally used to. You spend your night praying until late, then wake up very early in the morning to eat before sunrise. This leads to broken sleep, and why starting work later is a great help.
What happens at the end of Ramadan?
Once Ramadan has finished, we celebrate the end of Ramadan by celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr, where we pray a special Eid prayer and spend time with our loved ones, family and friends.
Eid al-Fitr is one of the major celebrations in the Islamic calendar. It's an Arabic term which means “Festival of Breaking Fast,” because it's celebrated at the conclusion of Ramadan.
It’s an occasion to celebrate all the hard work of the previous month and to praise God for the opportunity of Ramadan, a month in which good deeds are multiplied and sins are forgiven.
We spend a lot of time together as a family during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr just as other cultures and religions do on their holidays.
How can others support Muslims through Ramadan?
As a non-muslim, you may be wondering how it feels to fast. How you can help or if there’s anything you can do to help your Muslim colleagues.
We start practising fasting at the age of physical and mental maturity. This is usually around the time of puberty.
The first few days are usually the most difficult as you have to adapt after a year of not fasting.
For anyone wondering how they can help, there are a few things you can do/provide to assist anyone who may be fasting during this month.
As you may know from reading this article, we abstain from eating and drinking (including water!) from sunrise to sunset.
We can feel really tired during the day, so moral support is greatly appreciated.
Assisting with workloads can help ease the burden for anyone who is fasting.
As a business, flexible working hours and working from home is a great way to support anyone observing Ramadan/fasting during this month.
These two aspects can assist by allowing anyone observing Ramadan to start work later, allowing them extra time to sleep.
Working from home also saves us a lot of time from commuting as there is usually a lot of cooking and household chores involved during the month.
Having shorter meetings does help as that way you can spend your time focusing on the meeting itself.
For anyone who is observing Ramadan this year and fasting throughout this holy month, you can do this. If there is any assistance you need/can think of, don't be afraid to ask your team, management or business.
I hope this short read has given you an insight into what Ramadan is and why Muslims fast during the holy month of Ramadan.