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What you can do for your Muslim colleagues during Ramadan

30 March 2022

The month of April is just around the corner; for many this means lots of chocolate and Christian religious observances.

But, it is also an important month for those of the Islamic faith, who observe Ramadan.

Australian Muslims come from all around the world, from many different ethnicities, cultures, languages, and beliefs, making them one of Australia's most ethnically and nationally heterogeneous communities.

abdullah-faraz-fj-p_oVIhYE-unsplashRamandan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar and is characterised by fasting from sunrise to sunset and special night-time prayers called tarawih in addition to the compulsory five daily prayers and reading from the Quran.

During Ramandan, Muslims will rise before sunrise to have Suhoor (an early morning meal), and will break their daily fast after sunset, with an evening meal (Iftaar).

Fasting (sawm) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, the core beliefs and practices of Islam: the others being Faith (shahada), Prayer (salat), Alms/Charity (zakat) and Pilgrimage (hajj).

hasan-almasi-_X2UAmIcpko-unsplashRamandan provides Muslims an opportunity to strengthen their faith, family and community bonds, self-reflection and to give back in meaningful ways.

Thanks to Nof, Indigo’s People and Culture Administrator, who is very proud of her culture and Islamic faith for sharing some insightful tips and resources on how to support your Muslim colleagues (and friends) during Ramandan.

What you can do for your Muslim colleagues during Ramadan: 

  •  Read about Ramadan, ask questions. Learn and be informed about what it is and why it is important to your colleague/s.
  • Always be aware of religious and cultural appropriation, learning about Islam and Ramadan should be done with intent and respectfully.
  • Fasting is an individual experience. Ask a specific person if they need or want anything from you and how can you support them. The answer won’t be the same across the board.
  • If invited, try to fast half a day with your colleague/s to experience what it is like for them during Ramadan (again intent is important if you wish to fast with a Muslim colleague (Fasting isn’t about abstaining from food/water, it is a faith practice and spiritual experience).
  • Do accept food and drink when offered during Iftar (if invited), it is a sign of respect and friendliness.
  • Workplaces can provide their fasting employees with a quiet place they can use during their break/s to pray.
  • Encourage your Muslim employees to take short breaks during the workday. Be flexible with work hours, this may help people work when they are most productive.
  • Abstain from eating in front of them or ask your Muslim colleague what they prefer.
  • If you have Muslim friends, be careful with the language you use on social networking sites.

Some sources to read for more information/ insight into the holy month of Ramadan: