Ramadan - 23/24 April to 23/24 May
The month of Ramadan is the holiest month of the Islamic year, and will take place between 23/24 April and 23/24 May this year (depending on moon sightings).
Ramadan will prove a very different experience this year for Muslims due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Purpose and significance
- To attain nearness and closeness to God through devotion and commitment to fasting and prayers
- To experience and appreciate those who are less fortunate than themselves
- A time of charity and generosity - this is especially encouraged during this month
- It is also a time for community and family spirit and providing support. Individuals and families within a household will pray and eat together and support each other.
- The dates of Ramadan in 2020 are 23/24 April to 23/24 May
- Muslims abstain from any food and drink between dawn and sunset on each day of this month. The times of the fast for each day are approximately 3am to 9pm or 9.30pm. This means that Muslims fast over this period for approximately 18 hours a day
- During this time Muslims try to follow a normal study or work routine as far as possible, but have responsibilities for devotion to extra prayers and readings to their daily religious commitments
- The end of Ramadan is marked by the festival of Eid ul Fitr
- Students and staff are expected to take personal responsibility for managing their commitment to Ramadan
- Managers, colleagues and staff supporting students are advised to demonstrate empathy, sensitivity and understanding to balance supporting students and members of staff to manage their Ramadan commitments during our current working from home circumstances.
#Ramadanathome: practical advice for students and staff
Individual students and members of staff will manage their own observance of Ramadan - this may vary due to health and other personal circumstances.
- Flexible working: consider changing the start and end times of the working day to earlier or later, if permitted to do so, or take a lunch break at a later time to break fast depending on work and study timings.
- Breaks: members of staff and students observing Ramadan are encouraged to take regular breaks for rest and reflection (perhaps around prayer times).
- Prayers: students and members of staff may wish to offer prayers during the day (there may be up to two prayers that may impact upon the timings of a working or studying day).
- Annual leave: members of staff may request flexibility around their working arrangements, for example, to work shorter days or working weeks during Ramadan. There will also be leave requests, so members of staff can celebrate Eid at home.
- Meetings: meeting organisers may wish to consider timing over this period to enable as many students or members of staff as possible to attend.
- Communicating: members of staff and students may give advance notice that they will be fasting to a manager, academic supervisor or colleagues. They might also want to share Ramadan with colleagues by having a conversation or sharing what they are doing for it, what food they are preparing, and what the month means for them.