Author: Shoaib Mansoor
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is a period of abstinence, reflection, and increased devotion for Muslims worldwide. It is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam and a significant religious observance.
A period of abstinence and increased devotion
From dawn until sunset, Muslims fast, abstaining from eating, drinking, and other physical needs. This act of self-discipline is intended to foster empathy for those less fortunate, and an appreciation for Allah's blessings. Additionally, Muslims devote themselves to increased prayer and recitation of the Quran during this month.
Muslims believe that during Ramadan, the gates of heaven are open, the gates of hell are closed, and the rewards for good deeds are multiplied. The end of the month-long fast culminates in Eid al-Fitr, a joyous celebration marked by feasting, gift-giving, and festivities.
Workplace Ramadan Traditions Developed by Our Team
This year, to raise awareness about Ramadan, some of my co-workers created a poster that covered several elements, including highlighting the significance of Ramadan for Muslims, listing typical activities during the month, and explaining various aspects and benefits of fasting. The poster also provided ideas on how to support Muslim colleagues during this period.
To further celebrate the Eid Festival at the end of Ramadan, we introduced a new practice of bringing in sweets to share with our co-workers. These small initiatives have brought us together and helped foster a greater appreciation of the importance of Ramadan and Eid. We have seen the positive impact of these actions, and we hope to continue them in the future.
Dispelling Common Misconceptions About Ramadan
Despite increased awareness about Ramadan, several misconceptions about this important month of observance for Muslims still persist. It's important to address these misunderstandings to foster a better understanding and respect for Muslim traditions.
One prevalent misconception is that all Muslims must observe the fast. However, there are exceptions for individuals who are unwell, pregnant, or aged. Additionally, it is incorrect to assume that Muslims abstain from food and water for entire days. The period of abstinence is during daylight hours, and Muslims are allowed to eat and drink before dawn and after sunset.
Ramadan is also a time for increased spiritual reflection and prayer, not solely associated with food and drink abstinence. Another misconception is that businesses owned by Muslims will close during this period. However, this is not necessarily the case, as some may modify their operating hours while others remain open as usual.
Overall, it's essential to approach Ramadan with respect and understanding of its cultural and religious significance for Muslims. Dispelling these common misconceptions helps to promote a greater appreciation and awareness of this important time.
Life at CGI during the fasting month
CGI has implemented several measures to support its Muslim employees who are fasting during Ramadan. One such measure is the option for flexible working hours, allowing Muslim employees to adjust their work schedule to accommodate their fasting routine. Additionally, a multi-faith prayer room has been established for employees to use during prayer times. The Melbourne prayer room has recently been fitted out with facilities for washing before praying..
CGI's efforts to educate non-Muslim employees about the significance of Ramadan and the importance of supporting Muslim colleagues during this time are commendable. These initiatives have fostered a more inclusive and supportive workplace for everyone, irrespective of their religious beliefs, which is heartening to witness.
My Fondest Memory of Ramadan
When I reflect on Ramadan, my mind naturally wanders back to my childhood. In those days, Ramadan meant gathering with my extended family, and my mother would prepare special meals for us to break the fast together. Cousins and friends would join us, and we spent much of our time reading the Holy Quran and engaging in special prayers. Sometimes, we even stayed up all night doing these activities, catching up with each other's lives. Now, whenever my family and I reunite during Ramadan, we fondly reminisce about those treasured moments spent together.
My career at CGI has been exceptional, and I continue to cherish my experiences here. If you're interested in exploring job opportunities with us, please visit our Careers Page.