In terms of religious festivities this April, the three main monotheistic faiths will each be observing a particular element which involves discipline and focus. Christians worldwide will be observing Easter. Members of the Jewish faith will be observing Passover.
Muslims & Islam
The Islamic year is based on the lunar calendar. Muslims like myself will be observing the Islamic month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims will fast from dawn to sunset for either 29 or 30 consecutive days.
Fasting is one of the five pillars in Islam. This Ramadan will be the first ‘out of lockdown’ since 2020. Ramadan is a month involving time spent with family and close friends, something which many have not been able to do during the last couple of years. This would have had an impact upon individuals who were isolating or living alone. For those who can, more frequent time is spent in a mosque during this month.
When will Ramadan start
Saturday 2nd April 2022, subject to the sighting of the new moon.
Who has to fast
Fasting is not imposed on all Muslims. Children pre-puberty, the elderly, pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding, women menstruating, travellers and those who are unable to fast because of ill health or suffer from a mental health challenge are exempt.
What might a fasting person do
- Abstain from eating and drinking.
- Do not engage in sexual acts.
- Increase their good deeds.
- Read the Qur’an and pray throughout the day including the specific night prayer during Ramadan called taraweeh.
What happens at the end of the month
The end of the month is marked by the day of Eid-Ul-Fitr known as the ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’. It is a celebration spread over 3 days.
Eid-Ul Fitr will typically start with a morning congregational prayer held in the community and the gathering of family members and friends during the day. People will visit each other, exchange gifts and eat specially prepared food. New clothes tend to be worn. It is recommended to visit family members and friends who are vulnerable and in need.
Charity is one of the 5 pillars in Islam.
Many Muslims will increase their charitable giving during the month of Ramadhan. There is also a specific donation called Zakat al-Fitr during Ramadan. This is a fixed monetary amount per person in a household . It is usually around £5 per person if the household has food surplus to their needs.
Child arrangement orders
Typically, contact on the day of Eid will be alternated annually.
There are in fact two Eids every year. The second Eid during the year is called ‘Eid ul Adha’ and will take place on 9th July 2022 subject to the sighting of the new moon.
Since the celebration of Eid is subject to the sighting of the new moon, there is often a difference of opinion within the Muslim communities as to when the new moon is sighted. Therefore, Eid can be celebrated on different days locally and internationally.
Awareness: Your work colleagues and employees
Specific issues during Ramadan
Being without food and water for about 15 – 16 hours during the day, has a direct impact on concentration levels, fatigue, headaches and patience.
Added to the above, having young children and other caring responsibilities whilst working, whether from home or the office, will all have an impact on Muslims fasting daily for 29 – 30 days.
Hopefully, being able to break fasts with friends and family will be hugely welcomed this year, and an uplifting event for those who felt isolated and have suffered mental health challenges over the last couple of years.
A fasting person might not say, but will want to take a rest during the afternoon/early evening, spend time reciting the holy Qur’an and preparing special food for their fasting family. They may also want to spend additional time praying and in spiritual contemplation during the day.
Please keep the above in mind for colleagues and employees who will be fasting. A request may be made for alternative working hours during the month of Ramadan.
Wishing the fasting community during the month of Ramadan, a peaceful, meaningful and successful month.