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Ramadan in the Civil Service

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Diversity and inclusion
Central London Mosque in Regent's Park, central London.
Central London Mosque in Regent's Park, central London.

Every year nearly three million Muslims across the UK observe Ramadan, which started this week. Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims and is the 9th month in the Islamic Calendar.

The Islamic fast is obligatory from dawn to sunset. This year in the UK it involves 18.5 hour fasts, where Muslims abstain from food and drink and other bad habits. Instead they concentrate on personal reflection and prayer.

The UK Civil Service has more than 46 departments (and 355 agencies and other public bodies) so it’s helpful for managers and colleagues to be aware of the particular significance of Ramadan for colleagues who make up a small part of the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.

David McLean in UK Trade and Investment said:

As a manager I’m aware of Ramadan but, I found the guidance from the Civil Service Muslim Network refreshing as it gave me some practical advice.

It helped me understand and work with Muslim staff during an important time of the year for them. I also learnt a lot about the significance of Ramadan and the extra obligations that are undertaken during this period.

During Ramadan Muslims adhere to three types of worship: Sawm (fasting), Zakat (charity) and Salat (praying). These are three of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. The other two are Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) and Shahada (belief in one god).

Muslims believe that during Ramadan, the Qu'ran, the holy book, was revealed to mankind through the Prophet Muhammad. The end of Ramadan brings the festival Eid-ul-Fitr which is marked with a celebratory meal and the exchanging of gifts.

Ahmed Bashir MBE, Chair of the Civil Service Muslim Network said:

Ramadan is not just a month about reflection and giving charity. It’s a month of solidarity and kindness towards all, particularly with those less fortunate. These core Islamic values mirror the central values all good citizens and neighbours hold close.

For further guidance or advice on Ramadan contact the Civil Service Muslim Network email.

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  1. Comment by Shameem posted on

    "During Ramadan Muslims adhere to three types of worship: Sawm (fasting), Zakat (charity) and Salat (praying). These are three of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. The other two are Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) and Shahada (belief in one god)."

    Muslims do not adhere to only these three types of worship; they adhere to four types, first and foremost being Shahada (belief in one God, Sawm (fasting), Zakat (charity) and Salat (praying). The fifth - Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) should be achieved at least once in a Muslim person’s lifetime.

    It should be noted that Muslims do not only adhere to these forms of worship during Ramadan but should practice all four pillars of Islam all year round as it is not only a religion but a way of life. These forms of worship are observed in Ramadan more abundantly as it is a holy month with more blessings than any other time of the year.

    Ramadan Mubarak everyone!

  2. Comment by Mayowa Mashood Gbadamosi posted on

    To the individual/team responsible: thank you for this useful article, it really is informative.
    Just a couple of observations from me please if I may - and apologies if in advance if they seem minor points:

    i) the last part of the first paragraph after David McLean's comments in brakets should read 'belief in one God', not 'belief in one god'.

    ii) I get the point being made here, but to clarify, Muslims do not consider eating and drinking 'bad habits', so the bit in the second paragraph after David McLean's comments, that reads 'abstain from food and drink and other bad habits' probably reads better 'as abstain from food, drink and other normally lawful activities, as well as bad habits, e.g. smoking.'

    Finally, may I wish Muslims within the CS a blessed Ramadhan, I pray that this Ramadhan turns out to be a truly beneficial and transformational one for us, such that we ultimately become good people that God and our fellow men are proud of.

  3. Comment by Ashfaq Rashid posted on

    Great to see this and good level of information.

    A few years ago there was also a guide which provided even more detail in it which I circulated to my colleagues who found it very useful. Would be great if that was made available again

    • Replies to Ashfaq Rashid>

      Comment by Blog team posted on

      Hi Ashfaq, thanks for your comment.

      This post is just the start of our collaboration with the Civil Service Muslim Network, and they'll be posting again fairly soon.

  4. Comment by Mohammed Amin posted on

    It is not for humans to decide how they should worship their Creator. For the Creators has informed the humans how He should be worshipped – and one of these information/message is the Qur’an – those who believe and act upon this are Muslims.

    Ramadhan is a time, no matter how practising a Muslim is, he/she seeks to strengthen his/her relationship with his/her Creator through Fearing (taqwa) and having Hope in Him by abstaining from food and drink (and if married, intimate relationship with their wives) - matters that are normally permitted and necessities of life - from dawn to sunset as a pure worship (ibaadah).

    Reflecting upon this world as temporary transition and seeking the life of permanent abode.

    There are other benefits eg physically (eg removing toxics from the body), humanitarian (eg having empathy and sympathy on the very poor), moral (eg self-reflection and rectification of her/his own characteristics) and material (eg more upright in his/her job or in seeking livelihood) but as mentioned above the main goal he/she is seeking is the spiritual benefit in strengthening his/her closeness to the Creator in obeying His commands and abstaining from His prohibitions.

  5. Comment by SHANAZ BEGUM posted on

    Nice article. Appreciated. It's good to see this article, which is a good effort in raising awareness.An educated article for those who do not know about Islam and Ramadan. well presented.
    Ramadan Mubarak to all my Muslim workmates across the civil service, the UK and the world. Best Wishes,