Because of Ramadan, millions of Muslims around the world devote daytime fasting from food and liquids (yes, even water). Many Muslims observe Ramadan by refraining from eating and drinking while at work. So, how can non-Muslim coworkers be encouraging without unintentionally offending someone who is fasting during Ramadan? We’re here to help. Here are some ways you can support your Muslim friends and coworkers during Ramadan.
Ways you can support your Muslim Friends or Colleagues During Ramadan:
Be mindful of how you converse about food
You must be considerate of your Muslim friend’s needs and make an effort to be courteous and mindful of their fasting during Ramadan. Flaunting your food before them or offering them food in jest would appear tone-deaf and downright rude. Be respectful at this holy time. Wait for them to tell you when they intend to break their fast for that day, and then go ahead and serve them food at that time.
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Be thoughtful when scheduling meetings
Because Muslims fast during the month, they are most active in the mornings and early afternoons. After this time, they will become tired and have difficulty focusing on important tasks. So, if you want to be considerate, schedule meetings in the mornings to avoid making it difficult for them. If you can’t schedule a meeting before noon, keep it brief and to the point. They will be able to process the information and work on it more easily this way.
Avoid attacking them
There are a number of reasons why your Muslim friend might not be keeping a strict fast during Ramadan. Islam allows for exceptions in some circumstances, like if a person is ill or travelling. Asking someone why they aren’t fasting while others are is never a smart idea if you start noticing this. Wait for them to feel secure enough to share their motivations with you. And accept the possibility that they won’t feel at all secure doing so. It’s overall their business, not yours, so you can relax knowing that.
Check to see if your Muslim employee requires special accommodations
While Muslims typically do not require any special care or accommodations during Ramadan, you could ask them if you can provide any. This is especially important for employers who employ Muslim workers. Try to speak with your Muslim worker to see if they require any special accommodations. Most Muslims simply want to be able to work around their schedules. And also leave on time so they can focus on things other than work. You can also avoid assigning too much work to them while they are fasting. Simply let them do what they can during their hours without overwhelming them.
Don’t say anything unfriendly
Ignorance frequently appears in many different ways, one of which is through “funny” jokes and remarks that seem to be harmless. Refrain from criticizing Ramadan or making jokes about the likelihood that you’ll never survive as a Muslim. These insulting jokes can reinforce preconceived notions about religion. Furthermore, these may convey the idea that you see Islam as an optional extracurricular activity. And that people can join or drop when the going becomes too difficult. For your Muslim friend, keep in mind that this is a commitment for life.
Inquire if you could sponsor an Iftar meal
Many non-Muslims seem to enjoy the idea of taking their Muslim friends out to break their fast these days. If you see a Muslim friend struggling or in need of encouragement during Ramadan, invite them to join you for a meal. If you can’t afford to take your Muslim friends out for Iftar, you can accompany them if you’d like to. Sometimes just being there for them is all they require. This is especially true for new converts who are giving it their all. So try to be as upbeat and optimistic as possible.
Don’t make fun of their fast
A word of advice. Don’t equate their fast with a fad diet or minimize it to just being a fantastic weight-loss strategy. Your friend sees this as a profound and crucial aspect of their religion. And they are willing to sacrifice their time, desire, and energy for it. It would be rude to compliment them on how much weight they have lost or could possibly lose. Furthermore, you could never know if your friend has a positive relationship with their body, and remarks like this could upset them.
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