If you are working in the UAE or any other Gulf countries, you are going to experience the month of Ramadan in the most zeal and enthusiasm. The UAE has majority of expatriate population that get an experience of this holy month in the most charismatic way. From the Fajr to Iftaar, even being a non-Muslim will make you feel special during the month of Ramadan especially if you are in any of the Gulf countries.
Ramadan – The Holy Month
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The month is considered to be extremely auspicious and Muslims worldwide observe fasting from dawn till sunset. The month of Ramadan is an annual observance that is considered as one of the five pillars of Islam.
This year, the month of Ramadan commenced on the 6th of June and will probably end around July 5. The UAE is the hottest and has the longest days during this month. Hence, Muslims fasting would have to do so for around 14-15 hours daily.
Other than fasting, the Muslims also pray for 4-5 times a day and worship believing that it will bring them closer to God.
In the month of Ramadan, Iftaar is when friends and family gather together to break the fast. The meaning of the word Iftaar is breaking fast. Iftaar is one of the many religious observances of Ramadan and often takes place as a community with people who gather at one place to break the fast.
Iftaar is taken just after Maghrib, which is around the sunset. The Muslims have a tradition of breaking their fast with three dates though it is not compulsory. It is also a Muslim belief that it is charity to feed someone Iftaar.
Now that you know the importance of the month and fasting, the UAE and other neighboring Emirates observe some changes. As a professional working there, it is necessary that you are acquainted with these changes.
1. The Working Hours
Under the UAE Labour Law, Muslims as well as non-Muslims have reduced working hours. This is covered under Article 65 of the UAE Labour Law and is applicable to every employee. The compensation though remains the same. During the month of Ramadan, the normal working hours are reduced by 2 hours.
This law is not applicable for companies that are located in areas designated as Free Zones.
The workers working outside (construction sites) are eligible for a day break of 12pm to 3pm.
2. The Working Culture
If you are working in the UAE, you might observe some changes in the working culture in the companies. You are not allowed to eat and drink publically. If you are a non-Muslim you might observe that your Muslim co-workers who are fasting could experience changes in their daily routine leaving them exhausted. As a co-worker, it is expected that you remain calm and respectful towards them.
3. The Daily Work Routine
During the time of Ramadan, it is possible that Muslims who are fasting do not get proper rest. At this point it is advised for the non-Muslims to avoid coming up with a discussion that you think can offend them. . At work place, if you are not fasting, make sure you do not compare yourself with the ones fasting during the month of Ramadan.
Some Dos and Don’ts for Fasting Employees
If you are fasting, here are some quick tips that will help you to manage your work efficiently:
– Plan your work a month before. You know you are going to be fasting for the entire month, so make sure that you have a plan for the month well in advance
– Use your breaks efficiently – if you feel exhausted, you might use your breaks for power naps
– If you are planning to take some days off from work, be professional and inform your employer about the same well in advance
– If you are involved in some tasks that requires physical strength, reschedule to a month before or after. Keep the lightest work for yourself in this month
Some Dos and Don’ts for Non-Fasting Employees
Even if you are not fasting, there are some ways you can help your Muslim co-workers go through the month of Ramadan efficiently. Some quick tips on how you should be behaving in this month:
– Be understanding: Your Muslim co-worker might be low on energy, so be understanding and avoid indulging them into activities that might drain their energy
– Avoid assigning strenuous tasks to those who are fasting. They do not even consume water for the time they are fasting, so be considerate
– Avoid asking why someone is not fasting. There can be a number of reasons that your co-worker is not fasting. Avoid asking them why as they might not be comfortable disclosing the reason and can feel offended
– Offer help wherever possible. Be generous and ask your co-worker if you could be of any help to them.
– Show that you respect them by avoiding talking about food in front of them.
– Be modestly dressed
On the Concluding Note
Ramadan is the holy-month that the Muslims world-wide wait for. The month of patience rewards happiness. Moreover, Islam has a great value for work. Hence, these little tips would keep you energetic all through the month.