Ramadan Guidance

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar where Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset for 30 days.

Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is therefore a mandatory act of worship. Muslims believe that the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed during Ramadan.

For many Muslims, Ramadan is much more than not eating or drinking during daylight hours. Muslims are encouraged to take this time to engage in extra prayers, more charity, volunteering, provide khidma (service) and generally establish good habits and work to eliminate any bad ones. It's a time for community, self-reflection, gratitude, spirituality, self-discipline, humility and empathy.

Muslims will awake before dawn to eat a meal called suhoor and then break the fast at sunset, known as iftar. Many Muslims will also pray the five obligatory prayers throughout the day but also engage in extra nightly prayers known as Taraweeh (these are prescribed for Ramadan only). These nightly prayers are usually performed in a mosque (in congregation) and can last anywhere between 1 and 3 hours.

Children under the age of puberty, those with long-term health conditions, the elderly, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, menstruating women, amongst others are exempt from fasting.

We have set out some guidance and more information on Ramadan below. 

The exact date of Ramadan is not known until the moon is sighted but the approximate dates for 2021 are, 13th April until 13th May. The fasts will be from around 3:50am-8pm.

After the 30 days of fasting (sometimes 29 depending on the moon), Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the celebration to mark the end of Ramadan. Normally, the day starts with communal prayers and it involves visiting relatives and friends and exchanging gifts.

Over the last few years, Ramadan has coincided with the summer months meaning the fasts are long. This year, the fasts will be around 16 hours a day. Abstaining from food and drink, coupled with an altered sleep pattern can leave people feeling more tired and dehydrated than usual, particularly in the late afternoon.

Here are a few things you can do to support Muslim colleagues and/or students

Academic support

  • Be mindful of any evening programmes or events conflicting with iftar (the meal to break the fast)
  • If supporting students on placement, check that they have time and place to pray, as well as adequate time to break the fast in the evening
  • Understand that during exams, student attainment may be affected
  • Offer students alternative timings for exams (where possible)
  • Offter to follow up any 1-1 meetings with an email outligning the key points of the session (memory retention can be affected when fasting)
  • Those students who are on placement and may be on the frontline during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged to speak to ther supervisor or mentor about any concerns. The Muslim Council of Britain have released some guidance for NHS staff which can apply to students on placement. 

Prayer times

  • Allow students time to pray in between lessons
  • Try and avoid back to back lessons with no breaks
  • Note that some students may be more observant in this month

Compassion and acknowledgement

  • Acknowledge the coming of Ramadan and Eid by wishing students and staff 'Ramadan Mubarak/Happy Ramadan' or 'Eid Mubarak/Happy Eid'
  • Cultivate an open culture of understanding of the challenges of the month but also celebrating its blessing and importance for Muslims 
  • Check in on student and staff wellbeing
  • If you manage Muslim staff, offer to sit down with them and talk about any adjustments or flexible approaches that can be taken to working hours
  • Try and avoid social activities or working lunches during Ramadan
  • Some staff and students may endeavour to practice their faith more during the month and wish to offer prayers in the day, this will be during the hours of 12pm-5pm. It is helpful if these requests can be treated with respect and sympathy

These tips are also available at the bottom of the page in a pdf downloadable format. 

Ramadan will fall in the assessment period in 2021 and we have created some hints and tips for Muslims students to keep well during the month.

Revision

  • Start revision early
  • Take regular breaks from your screen 
  • Get some fresh air
  • Try revising at different times of the day
  • Nap in the day when you can (which was also a practice of Prophet Muhammed)

Nutrition

  • Pack in the protein
  • Avoid overindulging at iftar
  • Drink lots of water between iftar and suhoor
  • Drink coconut water - it's good for hydration and headaches
  • Limit the fried and sugary foods
  • Avoid salty food (they can make you thirsty)
  • Eat foods encouraged in the Sunnah (teachings of the Prophet)

Spiritual and well being 

  • Set some realistic goals for Ramadhan
  • Remember that your work/study can be an act of ibadah (worship) with the right intention
  • Work hard and then pray for your success (this is the month of acceptance)
  • Stay positive
  • Get outside when you can
  • Host a virtual iftar
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help

These tips are also available at the bottom of the page in a pdf downloadable format. 

If you are a member of staff who is fasting and celebrating Ramadan, please speak to your line manager about any adjustments that can be made and mention any annual leave that may be wanted.

For advice and support:

For further information on Ramadhan please visit: