By Abdul Wahid, Food Area Manager
Ramadan, which starts on 5 May, is a holy month for our Muslim colleagues and communities. In this month of fasting, we abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk. We fast to gain Taqua, which means renewing our devotion to God.
We believe that in this sacred month the Qur’an was first revealed, and that each year the gates to heaven are opened and the gates to hell are closed. We strengthen ties with family and friends, reflecting on our lives and refocusing our attention to Allah (God).
At the end of the month we celebrate Eid-al-Fitra, the end of Ramadan. It’s a day for celebration and thanks giving with loved ones, where we exchange gifts and give to charity. It can last up to three days and it’s the equivalent of Christmas in the Christian calendar.
What does a typical day during Ramadan look like for me?
- Fasting is around 18 hours a day this year with no food or water between sunrise and sunset, so it’s a long day
- I wake before sunrise to eat – this can be anything, but for me is usually milk, yoghurt, fruit and sometimes a proper meal
- The first prayer of the day is around 3.30am, so I try to work later shifts during Ramadan if I can
- During the day I sometimes feel lethargic and weak. I feel like my attention span is reduced by 50%, but after a few days my body gets used to it
- During Ramadan I pray five times a day for around 15-20 minutes each time. I usually pray at a mosque close to one of my stores
- I make sure I’m home in the evenings to break my fast. This is usually done by having dates and water, followed by an amazing meal cooked by my wife (I’m a useless cook!)
- We spend the evening as a family before going to the mosque. Prayer takes around an hour and by that time it can be very late and I’m exhausted so I go to sleep, but not for long though as I need to be up again before sunrise to start over again
Everyone can get involved
It’s really important for all our colleagues to feel included and able to celebrate Ramadan, so we’ve produced a factsheet where you can find out more.
On Wednesday 29 May we’re giving both Muslim and non-Muslim colleagues the opportunity to celebrate together and experience fasting for themselves through a sponsored fast. Any money raised will go to our Co-op Foundation. Take a look at the website* and get involved if you can.
This year we’re also encouraging our food stores to donate dates and bottled water to local mosques, so if you’re in a store please get involved.
Happy Ramadan everyone!
*may only be accessible on personal devices