By Rahila Ovais


Our Prophet Muhammad (s) said, narrating it from Allah:

“Every deed of the son of Adam is for him except fasting; it is for me and I shall reward for it.”

Ramadan is not just about fasting it involves a lot more effort than refraining from food and water. Eating only between the times of dusk and dawn, extra prayers, late nights and a heightened emphasis on patience and virtue are all part of experiencing the holy month. Those born and raised in Muslim countries know that society adjusts to a different work schedule during Ramadan.  Being a minority in Canada, we don’t have that kind of flexibility but we can still plan ahead.  Here are some quick tips for employees to follow during Ramadan.

Discuss with your employer:  

It is best to have a dialogue with your HR or direct manager about any adjustments you may need. Employers can’t always accommodate flexible working requests, but maybe they will be more understanding if you take the opportunity to discuss and explain.

  1. Once it is determined when Ramadan is approaching, let your employer know that you will be fasting. Explain that during this time working through lunch hours, finishing earlier and coming into the office earlier may be preferred.

  2. Ask your supervisor or HR if they will allow you to continue working during lunch time or take a shorter lunch break for praying or use part of your lunch break to take a short power nap, so you can leave earlier.

  3. Discuss with your employer the possibility of not having power lunches.

  4. Ask the employer if very physically demanding tasks can be scheduled for you after Ramadan. If no accommodation can be made and your work is extremely physically demanding say a construction worker under a beating summer sun, consider the fatwa about not fasting for those days when you are scheduled for such kind of work, and then replacing it later. The Qur’an clearly specifies that people are not to make themselves ill by fasting.

  5. Advise your employer early on in Ramadan that you will be taking 1-3 days vacation at the end of Ramadan for Eid celebrations, but that you are willing to make it up when others are away for Christmas or New Year Holidays.

  6. Many companies allow employees a certain number of paid hours to volunteer in their community. Ask and schedule yours during Ramadan for extra blessings.

Tips to manage your work day

1.Balance your work day. Save your morning hours for meetings, intellectually demanding tasks that require concentration and save other routine tasks for later in the day.

2.It is advisable to let your colleagues and managers know that you are fasting.  So that if you do get a little irritable they wont be wondering why you are not your usual self.

3. Be well-organized about your eating and sleeping habits when you are not fasting. Don’t stay up late at night.  Remember that your employer has a right on you. Staying up all night and then falling asleep on the job the next day infringes these rights.

4.Hydrate well at suhour and after iftar to avoid dehydration during fasting. Severe dehydration can lead to people passing out on the job, posing a danger for yourself and others

5.If possible avoid committing yourself to evening functions or to travel away from home for business.

6. If possible, don’t schedule yourself during night shifts so you can focus on Taraweeh and Tahajjud.

About the Author:

Rahila Ovais is a mother to four ranging from 20 to 5 years old. She’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself. You can follow her on Facebook: HijabiMommy.