Ever wonder what your colleague goes through when they silently partake in the religious practice of fasting during Ramadhan?
But what is it? …
Ramadhan is a time of fasting where each day during this month, Muslims all over the world abstain from eating, drinking as well as participating in anything that is ill-natured or excessive from dawn until the sun sets. Fasting is intended to educate the person in perseverance, self-restraint, spirituality, humility and patience. It is a time to cleanse the soul, focus attention on God and put into practice selflessness, therefore important to also give to charity as well. Ramadhan is a time for Muslims to fast for the sake of God and to put forward more prayer than is customary.
Of course there are many questions that arise when it comes to fasting and Ramadhan – what most don’t know is that Ramadhan is a happy and joyous occasion. The best way to greet your co-worker during this blessed time is to proclaim, “Ramadan Mubarak (Moo-baa-rak)!” or “Ramadhan Kareem” or simply “Happy Ramadhan.” We absolutely love when our fellow co-workers acknowledge Ramadhan and wish us a blessed month.
Although energy levels might be low, the point of fasting is not to slack off from our daily duties and responsibilities such as work even though there are real life struggles when it comes to working during Ramadhan. I have jot down a few struggles I go through when it comes to working while fasting in this month, some of which my Muslim friends can relate to.
1. Not getting enough sleep since you wake up for Suhoor (breakfast), pray Fajr and literally have 30 minutes before you need to start getting ready for work. I is not a morning person.
2. Zombie/Robot mode on.
3. Patience tested as you drive/commute to or from work. If you drive, you have to deal with
crazy silly drivers on the road. If you commute by bus or train.. Oh the joys of smelling someone else’s BO as you cram on like sardines in a can. ALL UP IN YOUR SPACE. Or face. Which ever you prefer.
4. Explaining what you are doing and why to multiple people on a daily basis. “Yes! I am fasting from Sunrise to Sunset, for a month.” The look on their faces.
5. The shock look of horror when you mention you can’t have water either. E-V-E-R-Y-T-I-M-E! Wait for it, wait for it… THERE IT IS!
6. Remaining extra calm and collected whilst dealing with irate or angry customers. It’s a test. Remember to keep your cool.
7. Delicious looking morning tea spreads with all the amazing savouries and sweets, a buffet before your eyes. Yeah, I’ll take some home for later.
8. Figuring out what to do during lunch break. Better find a room to make salah/prayers. Should I go for a walk outside, bask in the ambience whilst being appreciative of what this life has to offer? Alhamdulillah. Read Qur’an? Or sleep?… Or in my case, expressing milk each and every break. Time is of the essence. Smelling food in the lunch room is not an option.
9. Avoiding talking too much or ensuring you do not come in close proximity with anyone incase they whiff your bad breath. Sorry, but it just happens when we are fasting!
10. Falling asleep at the computer when it comes to the afternoon. I am sure an afternoon nap is due by this time, but course you can’t sleep at the computer during work. Or can you?
11. Making sure you bring a bottle of water and some dates to work so you can break your fast on your commute home from work. Forgetting this makes you more “Hangry.”
12. I tend to be quiet much more than usual, maybe preserving my energy to help last the whole day. Who else does this?
13. Looking at all the food during Iftaar (breaking of fast) and only being able to stomach a small amount since your tummy gets full very quickly.
To my Muslim Brothers and Sisters, these are my struggles… What are yours?
In the end, these struggles are very petty and minute. Ramadhan is a time we all love regardless. As fast as Ramadhan comes, it goes (see what I did there?) and we are sad to see the month end for another year.