Wednesday, March 22 marks the beginning of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is an important time for practicing Muslims across the world. The exact dates of Ramadan change every year because Islam uses a calendar based on the cycles of the moon.
In 2023 in the UK, Ramadan begins in the evening of Wednesday 22 March and will end on Friday 21 April.
Practising Muslims fast between dawn and sunset. Fasting allows Muslims to devote themselves to their faith.
During Ramadan, it is common to have one meal (known as suhoor) just before dawn and another (known as the iftar), after sunset, which means 17 hours of not eating and drinking every day for 30 days.
In addition to fasting, during the holy month, Muslims are encouraged to pray five times a day.
Muslims will also spend most of their evenings in a special prayer called Tarawih, which means rest or relaxation. This is usually performed in congregation at a Mosque. The prayer can take anywhere between one to three hours.
The end of Ramadan is celebrated with the Eid al-Fitr, the Festival of Fast-breaking. This is followed by a two- or three-day holiday in which families and friends visit each other, exchange gifts and socialise. This year the end of Ramadan will occur on April 21.
How you can support Muslim staff and students during Ramadan
- Familiarise yourself with the University Religion and Belief Policy and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy
- Be open to listening and encourage Muslim staff and students to discuss Ramadan and how it may affect their work or study
- Understand the challenges that Muslim staff and students may face during Ramadan (e.g. no food or water and this can be for up to seventeen hours a day, prayers late into the night, waking up before 5am to eat and pray, tiredness)
- Allow flexible working/studying arrangements, where possible (e.g., earlier start and finish, rescheduling complex meetings, exams (where practicable) or difficult tasks, allow rest breaks throughout the day to pray)
- Allow time off, where possible, during the Eid al-Fitr.
If you have any questions, please contact Marylee Anderson, University Chaplain, email@example.com
Information about Muslim Prayer rooms can be found here