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Wednesday, 27 May

Eid Al-Fitr And Coronavirus – Supporting Your Muslim Colleagues 

Eid Al-Fitr And Coronavirus – Supporting Your Muslim Colleagues 

This year, Eid-al-Fitr will fall between the evening of Saturday 23 May and the evening of Sunday 24 May.

Eid is the period that marks the end of Ramadan, and the exact time is announced according to the sighting of a new moon. It is a time of huge celebration with family, breaking the fast, praying and sending best wishes.

This year, the Muslim community and Eid celebrations are affected by COVID-19, with mosques in the UK closed and celebrations having to happen at home amongst those within households. 

It is, therefore, more important than ever to support colleagues or employees that have observed Ramadan and are having to adapt to a very different Eid celebration.

 

“While we await this greater clarity, it appears likely that just as how British Muslim communities have innovated by finding new ways of observing Ramadan at home, that we will now need to prepare for celebrating Eid largely at home, with limited outdoor interaction.”

–Statement from the Muslim Council Of Britain 

 

 

The Muslim Council Of Britain’s statement

 

On 12 May 2020, a statement on the government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy ahead of the last 10 nights of Ramadan was published by the Muslim Council Of Britain. 

The statement cites the initial ambiguity in Boris Johnson’s statement on the relaxation of public meetings in outdoor spaces, leading to many in Muslim communities calling for greater clarity. 

The Muslim Council Of Britain asked government officials if there would be any change in government advice especially surrounding outdoor gatherings such as Eid in the park, even with heavy restrictions:

“The preliminary indication that we are being given is that this is not going to change. We are urging them and local authorities to provide clear guidance on this to their local Muslim communities.

“While we await this greater clarity, it appears likely that just as how British Muslim communities have innovated by finding new ways of observing Ramadan at home, that we will now need to prepare for celebrating Eid largely at home, with limited outdoor interaction.

“We know that our families and communities will naturally feel despondent at the prospect of not being able to congregate for Eid and in the mosque as we traditionally have done at this time of the year.

“However, we firmly believe that in our patience with this test from Allah, there is some good for us as a community and society as a whole. Indeed with every hardship, there is ease."

 

Supporting friends and colleagues

 

The TUC, a national trade union centre, has published some small practical steps that colleagues and employers can take to support their Muslim workmates and friends during and after Ramadan:

 

  • Ask colleagues if they’re observing Ramadan – Don’t be shy about asking Muslim colleagues if they will be observing Ramadan. Some people may choose not to take part – perhaps for medical reasons – as fasting is a personal choice
  • Be considerate – Ramadan should not interfere with everyday tasks at work, but fasting co-workers may be tired or lacking energy during the day. If you have colleagues who will be fasting, ask them if changing some aspects of work can make it easier for them
  • It’s not just about fasting –Ramadan isn’t only about not eating or drinking during daylight hours. It usually means rising early and eating late, and may mean taking part in late-night prayers at their homes. Because of the lockdown rules, it could be a lonely time for those who are living alone - check in on them to see if they are doing ok
  • Be flexible – Some workers may ask to change their working day or shift times, being flexible may help people work when they are most productive 
  • Be supportive around Eid – There is often some uncertainty about which day Eid will fall because it depends on moon sightings, so be prepared for your Muslim colleagues not to know the exact date. This may also impact on when they can work and how much notice they can give you, as Eid can last up to three days

 

We would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Eid al-Fitr. 

Picture: A photograph of a small candle inside a lantern

Article written by Ella Tansley

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