Our Muslim chaplains Ibrahim and Saleha were delighted to be asked by the Canary Wharf Group Muslim Association to join a panel discussion at their Lunch and Learn on the topic ‘The Month of Ramadan’. They were joined on the panel by the CWG Director, Zakir Khan.

Saleha talked about the importance of fasting and the physical endurance required throughout the month. She explained that Muslims follow the lunar calendar and fasting starts at the beginning of the new month, daily beginning at dawn and ending at sunset. The iftar, breaking of the fast, is an important family time to eat together and share with neighbours.

Some groups of Muslims are exempt from fasting and Saleha gave some examples such as, the very old and frail, the sick and menstruating and nursing women, and travellers undertaking an arduous journey. They are able make up for the missed fasts later in the year. Those who simply cannot make up the fasts would feed a substantial meal to a poor person for every missed fast.

Ibrahim explained that Ramadan was a time to seek to strive spiritually against temptations and desires and be better people. Ramadan is a time when Muslims endeavour to spend more time in prayer, reciting the Qur’an, and extended night prayers at the mosque. Late nights and waking up before dawn for breakfast means short and disrupted sleep which can take its toll. Ibrahim talked about the challenges for Muslim colleagues fasting and following their devotions during Ramadan, suggesting some ways to ease and manage some of them.

Some suggestions were shared for consideration by managers and team leaders. These included early or late starts and/or finishes, flexible shifts, collaborating with Muslim colleagues when arranging time off, swapping days, getting the more physical work done earlier in the day, for example enabling perimeter security staff to come indoors every so often out of the sun etc.

Zakir shared his personal experience. He talked about taking time off during the month, working from home where possible, and asking for meetings not be arranged late in the evenings if possible.

The panel discussion was followed by interesting and helpful Q&A. We were glad that they receive positive feedback from the attendees.

In case you were wondering it was a LUNCH and learn! Lunch was provide which included samosas and spring rolls for a touch of Ramadan! The event was recorded and is available on the CWG Plc website.

If your company or Muslim business resource group would like our chaplains to come and talk about Ramadan, they would love to be invited.