Career Corner: Fasting in the Workplace

Categories: Professional Development


Ramadan Mubarak to you and your family!

Once again, we are celebrating the holy month of Ramadan and I hope this month bring us closer together and help us cleanse our spirits.

As special as this month is, many of us that are living in North America know that outside of our homes, it is still business as usual. We have to put in the same amount of hours at work and with Ramadan now falling during the longest days of summer, we’re still coping with the heat while fasting.

For those of us working in environments that are not diverse, we find ourselves to be the only Muslim our coworkers know, so there is a lot of explaining to do. Being the only Muslim often means that I am for my coworkers their first exposure to Ramadan.  Although I’ve been at my office for five years, it never fails that I get asked every Ramadan if I can at least have water. Or ‘aren’t you hungry?’. The dedication and commitment to Ramadan is hard to convey to others and the workplace is often not the place to get into it.

I politely answer questions, try to dispel myths and explain my personal goals with fasting. There are those that get it and those that think I’m a little loopy. Nonetheless I don’t let it get to me that my coworkers ask questions because it fosters a sense of understanding when they notice I’m lethargic later in the day or when I don’t stay late after work to finish a project.

Not everyone can find flexibility at work during Ramadan. But for those that can foster a bit of understanding with their team and/or management to help them out, it’s definitely helpful. Whether it is coming in early so you can leave early, using the break room to pray and/or rest during the afternoon or being exempt from after work activities.

Best of luck to everyone navigating Ramadan while at work or school. May we all be rewarded for our dedication to fasting!

by Najat Mahammad