What Ramadan means to our colleagues

Many of our colleagues are observing Ramadan this month. We speak to Naveed and Hamid, who both work in the contact centre in our Blackburn office, about what this important month means to them.

Hamid says: The holy month of Ramadan (Ramzan) is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar. In this blessed month we fast from sunrise to sunset. Fasting is one of the 5 pillars of Islam and fasting is a test from God and part of our religion. Along with the fasting, we pray our 5 daily prayers, read the holy Quran and give 2.5% of our wealth to a charity or a person in need. This is called Zakat (charity) and is also another pillar in Islam.

Ramadan is not only about praying and not eating or drinking. This is the month where families come together, give food to other families and neighbours, no matter what faith they follow (my neighbour Linda enjoys the food!), ask God forgiveness of sins, visit the deceased and pray for them and read the holy Quran.

Typically my day is like this: I wake up at 04.10, eat something and do my 1st of 5 prayers. Second prayer is at 14.00, after this I read a few chapters of the Quran. Third prayer of the day is at 18.45, and a few more chapters of the Quran. Fourth prayer (20.04 today) is when we also eat something as the fast has ended for the day. So today, for example – I will have a glass of water or a date, then do my 4th prayer of the day and then have a feast. Final pray is at 21.45, this is the longest we pray. This is the routine for month of Ramadan. I have included some pictures of what we eat in the evening:

Naveed continues “Ramadan is universally thought of as the month of fasting and praying, but for me it means that and much more. It is a time of giving, self-reflection, togetherness and gratitude for the blessings in one’s life. It allows me to feel the hunger and thirst that is felt by those who have little or no food and water, encouraging me to help those in need, So during this month I and many others make conscious efforts to give as much to charity as we possibly can, This is on top of taking the mandatory charity of 2.5 % out of your whole wealth and assets for the poor which is the third pillar in Islam and an obligation for every Muslim who has savings or assets.

Ramadan also gives me the opportunity to reflect on myself as a person and what I can do to better myself spiritually, mentally and physically. Consciously engaging in more prayers and finishing the whole recitation of the Quran by the end of Ramadan, we also have an extra-long prayer during this month only after the Iftar called the Trabeeh Prayers prayed behind the imam where he recites the chapters of the Quran till its fully completed by the end of the month, this is on top of the 5 mandatory daily prayers.

We fast from dawn to dusk, waking up in the early hours of the morning before around 4am to eat (if we can manage to!) and then fasting for the whole day till around 8pm (with time increases by 2 mins everyday), We open the fasts with dates and water and then I think every family has similar traditional fried foods on the Iftar table: samosas, rolls, kebabs, chicken and the numerous types of pakoras, then we have the mains and deserts and fruits along with homemade yoghurt mango lassi drinks.

Eid is a celebration of the end of the fasts, where we start the day off with new clothes and collective prayers at the mosque after which we embrace family and friends with “Eid Mubarak” roughly meaning happy or blessed Eid, money is given as gifts to families and children and foods are prepared and shared by all, friends and families visit and share foods and for the whole day and night there is an atmosphere of happiness and joy and togetherness.

We would like to wish all our colleagues Ramadan Mubarak 2023!