M&M was really surprised to see this, and really impressed by what you said.


I work in Malaysia (which is a Muslim state) so it has a big impact on us, i thought i'd share a few things we do with members in case they're not sure what to do:


* Staff are allowed to start earlier and finish earlier (we cover the gaps using non-muslim staff)

* As they don't need a lunch break, staff can choose to work through it and go home a bit earlier.

* Staff are allowed to leave meetings if it conflicts with a prayer time (although advance notice is required).

hope this is useful for some of your members.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 Whilst not in a Muslim state I do work with a significant number of Muslims (I'd say around 10% of the people I work with).  We apply the first and last suggestion SMORISON makes.  Under health and safety legislation everyone has to take a 30 minute break after 6 hours working so we can't let people just work through their lunch.  They can of course use their 30 minute 'lunch break' for things other than eating if they wish and most managers try to be flexible and if an employee wanted to take their 'lunch break' late to coincide with afternoon prayers that would be fine.

We operate a Flex/TOIL (Time Off In Leiu) system so if a Muslim employee wanted to build up a balance and then use it to work shorter days during Ramadan that woudl be OK, so long as it could be accomodated within the working schedule.  Similarly annual leave can be used to shorten work days, in particular during the early part of Ramadan whilst their body is adapting to the fast. 

Also, not so relevant at this time of year, if sunset (when the fast is broken) falls during the working day most managers would permit an extra break to break the fast (Iftar).  At some workplaces facilities are provided for the Muslims to get together to break their fast (usually at the back of the prayer room if there is one) and in some family members who do not work for us are allowed to join them if they wish.  A lot of it depends on the local facilities and local managers.

Something that has caught some managers out from time to time is that Eid Al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan) is not a fixed date, it depends on lunar observations and so can move at very short notice (can be less than a day).  Whilst it should be around 30th August this year don't be surprised if that changes and you might want to prepare to be a bit flexible if Muslim directs want to take Eid off and needs to move the date at short notice.

Also be aware that not everyone fasts.  There are exceptions for illness &c and sometimes someone just cannot manage it.  If you notice someone you thought was fasting it would usually be more sensitive to not comment on it.  Also if someone has stopped fasting due to an illness quite often they will complete the fast (essentially make up the days) after Ramadan so you might want to be aware of that.

If in doubt, ask.  I've always found an honest appreciative enquiry to be welcomed, one of the duties of an adult Muslim is to inform people about Islam (not to convert, just inform) so by politely asking questions you are helping them to fulfil a religious duty.  The only problem I've ever run into with asking questions to extend my understanding was when I apparently came very close to causing leavened bread to be declared Haram (forbidden).  'Lucozade' (an energy drink in the UK originally the preserve of the ill and convalescent, until they released a sports drink) had just been declared Haram due to containing trace amounts of alcohol and I was discussing this with some Muslim friends.  I asked about products like alcohol free beer and wine which have had the alcohol removed and was told they were banned because they had once contained alcohol.  I then asked about leavened bread as the bubbles in it are the result of yeast fermenting the sugars in the flour to produce carbon dioxide and alcohol, the alcohol is boiled/evaporated off during the baking process.  They didn't know this but a few weeks later one mentioned to me that he'd asked his Imaam, who had brought the question to a meeting of local Imaams who had referred the question to some more senior Imaams.  Apparently after some checking of authorities and debate it was decided that because the alcohol was removed by the natural process of evaporation the bread, post cooking, is Halal (allowed). 

 Incidentally the subject line of this comment, "Ramadan Mubarak", is (my Muslim co-workers tell me) a salutation/greeting used during Ramadan much like Christian cultures say "Happy Christmas" around Christmas.  On Eid (certainly Al-Fitr, I'm not sure about Al-Adha) you would say "Eid Mubarak!"



Skype: stephenbooth_uk  | DiSC: 6137

"Start with the customer and work backwards, not with the tools and work forwards" - James Womack


mauzenne's picture
Admin Role Badge

Thanks for sharing with community guys. Helps make us all smarter ... And better managers.

nadaali's picture

Thanks Stephen for an excellent post,
You are correct about the end of Ramadhan which may fall on the 29th or 30th depending on the sighting of the new moon marking the start of Shawwal (10th month).
This is announced on the night of the 29th as follows: 
-If the new crescent is sighted the next day is Eid Al-Fitr.  
-If not, the next day is the last day of Ramdhan and the day after is Eid Al-Fitr.
It is indeed very short notice, which in a non-muslim country might cause some inconvinience . Here in the UAE we are given the 30th off anyway and a two day Eid Holiday.  
Yes, you can say "Eid Mubarak" for Eid Al-Ad'ha too. Although we joke here that this might not be the case in Egypt this year because of the "Mubarak" in the greeting ;) (Mubarak in Arabic means Blessed).
Now I'll get back to my two large water bottles - must finish them tonight...
Ramadhan Kareem (kareem=generous)
Nada S. Ali