by Zen Family Member, Mohammad Thahsin – Graduate Sustainability Consultant
My name is Mohammad Thahsin, a Bangladeshi-British Muslim, who graduated from university only last year and joined Briar (Part of the Zenergi family) six months ago. I believe that being able to openly communicate and learn about each other is crucial to a successful workplace and is the best way to learn about how we can support each other to bring out the best in ourselves. Ramadan starts on the 22nd of March 2023 and ends on the 20th of April. The period is of great importance to me and others who look out for this holy month.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar which is based on the lunar cycle and is considered the holiest of months. It is a month of fasting and the month where the first revelation of the Quran came to the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). It is a time where all Muslims unite across the entire world and avoid food, drinks, and sexual desires from sunrise (4:30 a.m. in the UK) to sunset (7:30 p.m.) for an entire month. It is also a time of reflection, self-improvement, and worship to the one who created us.
What is Ramadan to me?
For me, Ramadan is more than just the standard action of abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. It’s a time where I can connect to my Creator and find peace and serenity and reflect on my life and my actions and think about how I can better myself. I believe it’s a time where I can truly make a difference to my own life and be a better human being and Muslim.
Ramadan is also a time of reconnecting with our family, friends, as well as the people in the community. We are encouraged to be more sociable, and we join in harmony, to fast, read the Quran and remember those less fortunate than ourselves and give whatever we can to help support those in need. We learn to be grateful for the blessings we have in this life including each other and build the love between us.
Working during the month of Ramadan
For those who are in a working environment during this month of Ramadan it can be a challenge to balance work life and religious obligations. The combination of not eating and drinking for the majority of the day for 30 days continuously, along with a limited amount of sleep (5/6 hours if you are lucky!!) can put a huge strain on the body. Therefore, the key to utilising this month to its full potential is communication and flexibility.
Communicating with your line manager and your Team is of utmost importance to let them know what you may need whilst fasting. This could be as simple as requesting lunch breaks to be spread across the day to give time to rest and pray, or even going further by requesting flexible working hours. The best way to support your colleagues who may be fasting is being flexible. For example, some may prefer to have meetings/ demanding activities earlier in the day to allow a slower afternoon when they may get more tired.
I have personally had the privilege to present to my Sustainability Team about Ramadan and explain what the month means to me and what support I may need during this holy month. I have even had the blessing of being able to share some slides to the wider team in the office about Ramadan and how it may impact Muslims and how colleagues can support. The Briar team have even gone a step further by utilising one of the meeting rooms as a prayer room to allow us conduct our prayers on time and not make us go a distance to “hide” our prayers.
What can you do to support?
It is easy to support your fasting colleagues, here are a few ideas:
- Allow flexibility.
- Learn more about what it means and raise awareness.
- Have a go at fasting.
How will Ramadan end?
Ramadan will end approximately around the 20th of April 2023 with a huge celebration known as Eid-Ul-Fitr. It’s a huge day of festivities where Muslims will recognise the blessings of Ramadan and being able to eat and drink again with the whole community. It’s a momentous occasion which is only celebrated twice a year and colleagues can help by allowing days off, being flexible with working hours, wishing a happy Eid, and even giving gifts on this blessed day.