Ramadan Mubarak to Muslims in Canada and around the world!
Muslims across the world are observing a month of fasting during daylight hours. They have a meal before dawn called “suhur” or “sehri” and break their fast after sunset with a meal called “iftaar.”
As the Islamic Hijri calendar is based on the lunar calendar, Ramadan is announced when the crescent is sighted on the eve of Ramadan. Hijri calendar consists of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days.
“Iftaar” is often taken as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Muslims believe that providing “iftaar” to the needy is very rewarding as charity. Muslims also take turns to invite family and friends and host iftaar at their homes or at restaurants. However, due to the #COVID19 pandemic, religious leaders in Canada are asking the community to strictly observe the directions from their local health authorities.
The Arabic word for fasting is “sawm” which means “to refrain.” In addition to abstaining from food and drink, Muslims are called upon to exercise self-discipline and renew their spiritual commitment through prayer, acts of compassion and charity. Abstention reminds them about those less fortunate and encourages them to demonstrate compassion and share their wealth. Many Muslims choose this month to make charitable donations.
There are temporary and permanent exemptions from fasting based on physical or mental state and circumstances, such as travel and other hardships. Those who cannot fast during Ramadan are required to fast at a later date and those who are exempt may give in charity the equivalent of feeding a needy person for the missing days of fasting.
In several Muslim majority countries, working hours are shortened during Ramadan, and lunchtime and after-office hours meetings are avoided. While most Muslims in Canada continue to work during Ramadan, they may need to skip taking coffee/tea and lunch breaks and adjust their working hours. In general, it is more convenient for Muslims to work from home during the month of Ramadan, where they can work with more flexibility.
If you have Muslim colleagues, you can wish them “Ramadan Kareem” or “Ramadan Mubarak”, and demonstrate sensitivity to their needs if they are fasting.
In the spirit of #Ramadan, let's commit to using kind words to build people up, and refrain from using words that belittle others.
Stay safe, stay well!
President, National Consultation Team