Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, began this weekend for the 1.8 billion Muslims around the world. Although many people know this holiday for fasting, it holds great importance for the people that observe.
One of the people that observe is Shaista, one of Rehab Management’s Rehabilitation Consultants based in South Queensland. We asked her about her experience and the significance of Ramadan and how she is able to work while observing the Holy Month.
What is Ramadan and how do you observe?
Ramadan is the month where it is believed that the Holy Book (Quran) was revealed to our Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). We observe this month by fasting from sunrise to sunset and our purpose is to practice gratitude for all the things we are blessed with, including food, water, shelter, family. We also use this as an opportunity to increase our spirituality and connection with God.
After 30 days of fasting, Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan with a celebration called Eid which also marked by the sighting of the new moon. To me, Eid is a bit like Christmas, as you get to dress up and exchange gifts while enjoying feasting with your family!
How do you adjust services during Ramadan to Muslim clients?
As a Muslim, I am understanding of my Muslim clients during this time. In order to be considerate to their fasting, I always ensure that appointments are scheduled in neutral spaces and environments. This would mean not meeting at a café or restaurant environment. As part of fasting, some people experience changes in moods, so being considerate that they may not have as much energy and may be less engaged than usual is important. I also avoid late afternoon appointments and calls.
I think the key to delivering great services during Ramadan to Muslim clients is for providers and consultants to be patient.
How can employers be supportive to Muslim employees in Ramadan?
Having respect for those who observe Ramadan is important as an employer to show that you value your staff. With Rehab Management, I am offered flexible working hours and increased working from home options to observe. Some other ways Rehab Management has accommodated to my needs during Ramadan include:
- Acknowledging that longer breaks may be required to allow for prayers to be performed
- Acknowledging that our annual leave requests may be given with shorter notice as we usually cannot plan the start and end of Ramadan
- Having meetings with line managers to open the conversation and increase understanding around what is required
- Avoiding invites to social events/party events
Some other ways employers can be empathetic in this time is to ask questions. Although it’s common to receive the ‘Not even water?’ comment, we are more than happy to answer any questions you have, and would love to share our knowledge and experiences with anyone who would like to know.