It’s the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast between dawn and sunset. It allows them to devote themselves to their faith and come closer to the Almighty. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which form the basis of how Muslims live their lives. The other pillars are faith, prayer, charity, and making the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. It is common to have a meal, known as the sahur, just before dawn and another, known as the iftar, directly after sunset. It is an opportunity for Muslims to develop self-discipline. It is also a way for them to show appreciation for what they have been given and be aware of those who are less fortunate.
To mark the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr — the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast. It begins when the first sight of the new moon is seen in the sky. It also represents the first day of the Islamic month of Syawal. On this special occasion, Muslims will wear clean and nice clothes, and prepare some classic dishes to be enjoyed with the family. They will not only celebrate the end of the fasting, but will also thank the Almighty for the help and strength that he has given them throughout the fasting month.
In Malaysian culture, throughout the month of Syawal, Muslims visit friends and relatives, and do charity by inviting others to their homes to join the merriment. It is known as Hari Raya Open House or Rumah Terbuka — it inculcates the spirit of sharing, caring and forgiving. This year’s Ramadan will be a bit different as the coronavirus outbreak means that people will not be able to visit friends and family, and there won’t be any Rumah Terbuka, to help stem the spread of the virus.
Muslims all around the world will be fasting as they carry on their normal lives. So what happens in the workplace when people fast? We asked our fellow BrioHR Muslim team members some questions and we got some very honest answers.
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