The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is an important time for practising Muslims, involving a month of fasting, gathering for prayers, family time and community celebration.
What is Ramadan?
Fasting plays an important role in many major religions and is a central feature in all the Abrahamic faiths. In Islam, adult Muslims, who are able to, are required to fast during the month of Ramadan.
Fasting has been ordained to improve mindfulness of Allah (God) in Muslims’ day-to-day lives. For this reason, Ramadan is a time of prayer and self-reflection, where Muslims are encouraged to read the Qur’an, increase their worship and charitable giving. These acts engender a sense of gratitude, self-discipline and restraint, which should continue throughout the year.
Like last year, Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr will take place during the COVID-19 pandemic, so with social distancing measures still in place, it will be a very different experience.
When is Ramadan?
The Islamic calendar is calculated according to the lunar cycles, so the month of Ramadan begins when the new moon is sighted. As a result, the start and finish times change from year to year, usually advancing 10 days earlier every year.
This year, it began on Monday 12 or Tuesday 13 April (depending on the sighting of the new moon), bringing with it a change to normal daily life for a number of our Trust staff.
Ramadan lasts for 29 to 30 days and ends with the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr which is likely to be on Wednesday 12 or Thursday 13 May.
How can we support our Muslim colleagues?
Dignity and respect from managers and colleagues are expected. Our staff have already been working under unprecedented pressures and the impact of fasting on top of this means we may need to give additional support where required. Please be compassionate to your Muslim colleagues and take time to understand how you can support them:
Further information about Ramadan and how to support staff who may be fasting is available here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/workplace-considerations-during-ramadan/
If you are a manager, take time to get to know your staff and their needs. Consider how you can support staff during Ramadan, including flexibilities and workplace adjustments you can offer.
More information and advice for line managers is available here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/workplace-considerations-during-ramadan/#advice-for-line-managers-and-supervisors
I’m fasting – is it safe to have my COVID-19 vaccine?
The British Islamic Medical Association has issued specific advice urging Muslims observing Ramadan to not delay in getting the COVID-19 vaccine, drawing on analysis from Islamic scholars which says that injections for non-nutritional purposes do not invalidate the fast. There is no material of foetal or animal origin in either of the available vaccines. All ingredients are published on the MHRA’s website.