Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim calendar, is coming to town. If you are a Muslim, you must be thrilled. But, what if you aren’t? Is there anything you should (or should not) be doing so you don’t come across as insensitive or disrespectful to your Muslim friends?
It’s OK to eat in front of your fasting friends
For the whole month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world will abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. You may still do your business but don’t get startled by the growling stomach of your fasting friends. Don’t schedule a work lunch, though.
You don’t have to fast with your Muslim friends
You can try fasting if you want to see what this kind of abstinence feels like. But you don’t have to do it. It’s not going to hurt your friends’ feelings, however close you are.
You can join your fasting friends for Iftar
Iftar is the meal used to mark the breaking of the fasting day after the sun goes down. Muslims love to enjoy iftar with families, friends, and their communities. So, you are always welcome to come.
You don’t have to know when Ramadan begins
Ramadan isn’t like Christmas or Thanksgiving which will always start on the same dates. You’ll never now exactly when it is going to occur. Each year, Ramadan comes in a different time as it’s based on the Islamic lunar calendar. Therefore, the precise dates change from year to year. So do the fasting hours during each day.
You should try to be flexible
The time for the Ramadan month is determined by a pretty old-fashioned way. Muslims have to see the moon with their eyes before they can decide when to start fasting although there are more convenient ways to predict the moon now. So, if your co-worker wants to start working and leaving early as soon as tomorrow, try to be understanding.
Your fasting friends may still go for coffee if invited
However, they can’t drink. Not even water. But, they are happy to come with you anytime you need a break.
Your fasting friends may try to stay away from you
Not drinking and eating for the whole day can give you halitosis, in other words, bad breaths. Thus, if you notice your fasting friends keeping a distance from you, know that they are just trying to be polite.
You can say “Ramadan Mubarak”
“Ramadan Mubarak” simply means “Happy Ramadan”. Your Muslim co-workers will certainly be grateful for your thoughtfulness.
Don’t say “I should fast too. I need to lose weight”
Ramadan’s not about appearance. Muslims don’t fast to lose weight. Saying that is disrespectful to your fasting friends. In fact, many people put on a lot of weight after the Ramadan month, which is reasonable due to the compensating meals after sunset.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: May 25, 2017 | Last Modified: May 25, 2017
Ramadan etiquette guide: 10 tips for people who aren’t Muslims. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/06/04/us/ramadan-non-muslims-etiquette-guide/. Accessed May 24, 2017.