Ramadan is a holy month in the Islamic calendar when Muslims observe fasting from dawn until sunset. During this month, being respectful and considerate of your Muslim staff members who may be observing this religious practice is important. Here are some guidelines on what to do and not to do around Muslim staff during the holy month of Ramadan:
- Respect their decision to fast. You may want to ask if it’s OK to eat, drink or smoke in front of them, although usually, this will not be a problem.
- Be understanding of their need for flexibility in their work schedule, especially during the later part of the day when they may be feeling more fatigued.
- Allow them to take short breaks to pray during the workday, as needed.
- Be respectful of their religious beliefs and practices, including dress codes and prayer requirements.
- Be inclusive and acknowledge their participation in the holy month, such as wishing them “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Happy Ramadan.”
- Offer food or drinks during daylight hours unless they have already broken their fast.
- Schedule important meetings or events during the later part of the day when they may be feeling more fatigued.
- Make assumptions about their ability to work or their level of productivity during Ramadan. Respect their individual needs and capabilities.
- Disrespect their religious practices or beliefs, or make fun of their fasting or other practices.
- Single them out or treat them differently because of their religion or fasting practices.
Overall, the key to interacting with Muslim staff during Ramadan is to be respectful, understanding, and inclusive of their religious practices and beliefs. Doing so can help create a more inclusive and supportive work environment for all employees.
Engaging with Muslim colleagues and being inquisitive is a step in the right direction to becoming more informed. As long as questions are asked in a respectful way, it is a great way to initiate a conversation and build a relationship with colleagues.
You can learn more about Ramadan in this light-hearted but informative BBC podcast: “Not even water” https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/brand/p0f5xdf3