Information about Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is marked by fasting, reflection, charity and prayer. It is believed that the first verses of Islam’s holy scripture, the Quran, were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during this time.
The act of fasting is meant to remind Muslims of the less fortunate and to reinforce the need to be thankful. As one of the five pillars, or duties, of Islam, fasting during the month of Ramadan is mandatory for all healthy adult Muslims.
Just to sum up what fasting actually is, it is where we don’t eat or drink (yes, not even water) between sunrise and sunset. Before the sun rises, we all wake up and eat a meal called Suhoor (in different cultures it is called different things) then we close our fast and we pray our morning prayer. Throughout the day we would still pray our 5 daily prayers and then as the sun sets, we open our fast and we eat a meal named Iftar. Here we pray our 4th prayer of the day, Maghrib, and we break our fast usually with a fruit called a Date. During Ramadan we have extra prayers that happen throughout the early part of the night called Taraweeh after we have ready our 5th prayer of the day, Taraweeh prayers are optional but also have many spiritual benefits and is a time where we can come together as a religion and learn from each other.
Ramadan is also a time where we learn to become more conscious of ourselves and our actions to try and better ourselves as people. We engage in more worship to our One God, Allah, to try and become closer to our religion.
As well as the above, fasting has many health benefits as proven by scientists and is essentially a detox which allows your body to have a break especially since it is constantly working. It allows you to gain more control over what you consume which will lead to a healthier life.
I work from 8:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday and I am based in the Criminal Justice Unit for South Yorkshire Police. I work in the Court Support Team where there are a total of 9 colleagues including myself. We deal with remands and as well Gap (Guilty Anticipated Plea) files for Court where we also deal with short time constraints and deadlines.
Ramadan can be quite challenging especially at the beginning as we are all settling in or even at times throughout the month where we simply aren’t feeling too great. Work can also be quite challenging, so trying to juggle both can be a bit of a struggle for some more than others, but it always reassures me when I know that my team are supporting me as it makes it that bit easier.
Also, I have raised awareness within management if I need early finishes during Ramadan. This has been allowed.
I try and give myself short breaks every now and then throughout the day especially if it’s a particular harder day for me, so that I can take the time to gather what energy I have and exert this into my work, as you all may understand because Muslims aren’t eating or drinking throughout the day, our energy levels may not be as good as they usually are. My team are supportive of taking short regular breaks and I believe all teams should be too as well as being patient as everyone’s journey is different. Some Muslims may appear not to feel a big effect from Ramadan in terms of the actual fasting whereas other may really struggle for various reasons.
There’s a lot to learn from Ramadan even for those who aren’t Muslim as it can still be beneficial in many other ways. Please all take care when practicing fasting.
Jashvin Ullah, South Yorkshire Police.