Ramadan is approaching: What can you do to support?

Ramadan is considered one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims. Muslims all over the world fast from dawn to sunset. For Muslims, fasting is more than abstaining from food during the sunlit hours. It is also a month when Muslims dedicate and devote time towards their spirituality through prayer, intentional acts of compassion and abstaining from practices and behaviours that may disrupt their spiritual journey (i.e. disrespectful behaviours, backbiting, ill-intentioned actions, etc.).

The 2021 Statistics Canada census report found that after Christianity, Islam was the most reported practiced religion in Canada, with nearly 1.8 million or 1 in 20 people as practicing Muslims. So what does this mean for you and your workplace? Here are some tips on being more mindful towards your Muslim colleagues and employees during the month of Ramadan and fostering an environment where Muslims feel heard, valued and safe at this time of year.

Ramadan is a unique experience for every individual

Firstly, know that Ramadan and the practice of fasting at this time of year is going to be a unique experience for all Muslims. In other words, do not assume that all of your Muslim colleagues and friends have the same beliefs, practices, and approach during this month. The experience of Ramadan and the spiritual journey that Muslims take is very personalized to them.


In the month of Ramadan, there is a heightened awareness and focus that Muslims place on certain practices, such as observing prayers and reciting the Holy Qur’an (the Islamic Holy Book compiling the revelations of God). This means that your colleagues/employees may require some flexibility and accommodations. Before they are requested, offer flexible accommodations, whether that’s time for prayer, a quiet and clean space where prayers and meditation can be observed, or flexible accommodations to the work schedules.

Respectful Curiosity

Asking questions to explore and learn more about this holy month and its significance can be a great way to raise your level of knowledge and build connections with your colleagues. However, it’s crucial to come from a place of humility, demonstrating an eagerness to learn. Avoid assuming or asking questions that might not have an ill intent but may have a negative impact. Instead of saying, “Can’t even water?” you can rephrase and ask, “I would love to learn more about fasting in Ramadan and its significance if you’re willing to share, of course”.

The Festival of Eid

Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. This is a joyous occasion where Muslims gather with their family and friends. As an employer, recognize the significance of this holiday and let your employees know that flexibility and accommodations are available without question; this can be in the form of equalizer days or substituting other statutory holidays.

Support and Connect

This is a great opportunity for employers and colleagues to demonstrate their support by acknowledging and having open dialogue, inviting Muslim colleagues to share their experiences and creating an inclusive environment where Muslims can experience this month by not having to minimize a part of them due to organizational cultural norms. Do not also rely on your colleagues to educate you. Instead, utilize the resources available to you to learn more about how to support your employees and colleagues during this very special time of the year.