College of Contract Management United Kingdom
College of Contract Management
United Kingdom

Supporting Muslim Colleagues During Ramadan - The CCM


Celebrating Diversity: Supporting Muslim Colleagues During Ramadan in 2024

As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, millions of Muslims worldwide abstain from eating and drinking throughout the day, honouring one of the five pillars of Islam.

Depending on when the new moon appears, either Monday, March 11, or Tuesday, March 12 will mark the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan 2024. The duration of the dawn-to-dusk fast varies from 12 to 17 hours based on your location.

Observing a daily fast from sunrise to sunset based on moon sightings is a significant aspect of religious traditions throughout this month. By praying and reading passages from the Quran, Muslims spend this time to deepen their ties to their faith.

With this in mind, employers, managers, HR practitioners, and professionals have the opportunity to demonstrate that they understand and can accommodate certain needs, improving total output and creating an inclusive work environment.

Abstaining from food and drinks at work during Ramadan becomes an important concern for Muslim employees. Colleagues who do not practice Islam can provide support without inadvertently committing small-scale offences. How can we establish an appropriate balance while showing solidarity during this holy time? This article provides practical suggestions for fostering a culture that respects diversity and strongly emphasises belonging and respect for others.


What is Ramadan?

The ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar, Ramadan, commemorates the Prophet Muhammad’s revelation of the Qur’an. Islam’s core tenets of prayer and fasting promote a deeper connection to faith. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, perform charitable acts, pray, spend time with their families, and refrain from eating and drinking.


Four Key Aspects of the Month of Ramadan

  • Fasting: For thirty days, Muslims abstain from all food, liquids, and specified behaviours from sunrise to dark. They break their fast with iftar at dusk and start with an early meal (suhoor) before daylight.
  • Prayer: Muslims offer five times daily prayers while facing the Kaaba. However, during Ramadan, there is a greater emphasis on self-reflection and prayer. During this month, it is customary to do evening prayers and recite the Holy Quran more often.
  • Charity: While contributing to charity is something Muslims do year-round to acknowledge its blessings, they increase their giving during Ramadan. Many devote all of their yearly donations to charity causes during this month, volunteering their time to help those in need.
  • Community: Ramadan is a month of celebration and community. At the masjid, Muslims enjoy time with their loved ones and the community. Together with shared iftar meals and group prayers, social interactions play a crucial role in creating a sense of solidarity.


Embracing Ramadan: How to Support Your Muslim Colleagues At Work

The fasting period may affect focus and output. Employers may help by planning activities earlier in the day, avoiding meetings right before meals, and taking into account changes that can reduce physical strain. Adjusted schedules, breaks at dusk, and flexible work arrangements can all help fasting colleagues.

Provide Access to Prayer Facilities 

Since prayer is an all-year-long commitment, employers are encouraged to create prayer areas. Although it may seem minimal, giving workers a secure space to say their prayers makes them feel important and included.

Consider Timings When Assigning Strenuous Tasks to Staff and Colleagues

Mornings are usually the most productive times of the day. Muslims are working with less energy than normal since they are not permitted to eat or drink, which makes it difficult for them to perform arduous tasks. Assign more difficult projects in the morning and less mentally and physically consuming tasks in the afternoon, rather than expecting them to complete such duties.

 Don’t be Afraid to ask Questions

To promote understanding, encourage open conversations. Managers may enquire in private if any extra accommodations are required during Ramadan.

“Happy Ramadan” or “Ramadan Kareem” are suitable greetings. Most Muslims use the Arabic phrase, “Ramadan Mubarak”, which means, to “have a blessed Ramadan”, or “happy Ramadan”, to greet each other. The English translation “Happy Ramadan” works just fine. Given the variety of reasons why a coworker can choose not to fast, it is best to avoid asking outright about their fasting practices.

Don’t Apologise for Eating or Drinking

Ramadan is a time for self-challenge, so don’t feel the need to apologise for eating or drinking in front of coworkers who are fasting. Cracking jokes about coworkers skipping lunch or their coffee during a fast could be offensive, so be sure to consider your relationships before making jokes, even if you mean for them to be harmless.

Adjust Working Routines

Adaptations and flexible work schedules may be necessary for coworkers who observe the Ramadan fast. Provide flexible working hours, rest periods, and inclusive meeting schedules to support Muslim coworkers. Companies need to make adjustments that are suitable for fasting employees.

Let Flexible Workers Choose Their Schedules

Allow staff to arrange their shifts around meal and fasting periods. This makes it possible for Muslim team members to select practical and effective work schedules.

Offer Annual Leave Considerations

To commemorate Eid-al-Fitr, employees may request time off during Ramadan. While it can be difficult to accommodate all individuals, companies have to establish an achievable process for handling leave requests. Employees should be encouraged to share their circumstances and any possible effects on performance through open and honest communication.

Allow Religious Paid Time Off to Muslim Workers

Offer religious paid time off (PTO) to employees who are fasting to show your support. This recognises the importance of the Eid celebrations and strikes a balance between job obligations and fasting.

Celebrate with Your Muslim Staff and Colleagues

Join your Muslim coworkers and employees in celebrating this time of year and wish them a joyous and blessed Ramadan this year! Happy Ramadan, or Ramadan Kareem, is wishing a bountiful and abundant month of Ramadan.

Key Takeaway

To encourage inclusivity in the workplace, show that you are aware of your employees’ needs and recognise their cultures and diversity. Organisations can establish stronger bonds and foster a more cohesive workforce by acknowledging and respecting differences of cultures, faiths, and holidays.

Ramadan Mubarak from everyone at the College of Contract Management!