Yesterday marked the start of the ninth month in the lunar calendar of Muslims, which marked the official start of Ramadan. In this holiest time of the year in Islam, Muslims pray all day long while fasting everyday for one month.
Here are seven ways you can help out a Muslim friend in this holy event of Ramadan. It can be as simple as letting them leave work early or respecting the space they need for their prayers.
As their boss, if possible, let them leave work early
Surely, your good grace will be rewarded by their double effort during work hours to compensate for the early leave granted. Practicing Muslims during Ramadan would need to go home early in order to partake in the iftar – the meal they have to take at sunset to break their whole day fast.
Speaking of iftar…you can join them and experience iftar!
Yes, even non-Muslim folks can participate in iftar. It is an open mean for the whole community where food and drinks are shared by everyone.
Eating in front of them during the day is allowed, however, it might be helpful for them if you could refrain from inviting them out… ~shoo temptation!~
You can eat whenever you want, and the Muslims won’t mind. After all, you’re not a Muslim and are not required to join the Ramadan. But be wary – you cannot ask them for a drink or a coffee break, because drinking is not allowed, too.
Put yourself out and join them in Ramadan!
Of course you can, your friends will probably encourage you to do so. But it is important that you know the spiritual goal of the practice and avoid any comments that may hurt their feelings, such as saying that Ramadan is good for losing weight. Keep in mind that this is a holy exercise for Muslims.
A simple greeting of “Ramadan Mubarak” may bring a friend all the good vibes he needs
“Ramadan Mubarak” is the suitable greeting, which means “Happy Ramadan.” Yes, fasting is a sacrifice and a tiring event, but Muslims consider this as a time for family to get together again in prayer after a long year.
If your friends want space, please give them the space they need
Some of them take Ramadan as an opportunity to think and reflect on their own, so if you see them shying away from you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they hate you. Or it might also be because they have to stay away, imagine how a month of little to nothing of food and drinks can do to your mouth and stomach.
Celebrate Eid al-Fitr with them!
The three-day festival called Eid al-Fitr will mark the end of Ramadan. Non-Muslims consider this a Christmas-like gathering, where Muslims finish their fasting and commune for a bountiful gathering.
Let’s spread the love during this Ramadan, and don’t let our religious differences get in the way. Just like how Muslims join us in our own religious celebrations, let us participate in theirs too with utmost respect. (Luke Godoy)
(Photos © Reuters and Pitara)