Ramadan 2016 Season: These Are The Things You Should Do To Respect People Practicing The Muslim Holy Month

Muslims are preparing for Ramadan, the biggest event of their faith’s year. This is the month of the Islamic calendar when the Qu’ran was revealed to mankind by the Prophet Muhammad.

Ramadan starts today, June 6, 2016. It will continue on until July 7. For Muslims, Ramadan is a season for many traditions that include fasting. If you know a Muslim colleague or friend who is commemorating Ramadan, here is your best etiquette guide to show your respect to their tradition.

  1. Stop Pushing For Food

During Ramadan, Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink during daylight. Most of them are required to fast except for the elderly, pregnant women and those who have health problems. Children are not particularly required to fast, but they sometimes to “half-fasts.”

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For Muslims, this is the season of the year where they strengthen their character and resolve. Dismissing the temptation of food is one practice they do to make their resolve stronger. The fasting is more than just a diet; it is a show of discipline.

“Whoever does not give up false statements and evil deeds and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink [or fasting]. – Qu’ran.”

  1. Simple Greetings

The Muslim community is very strict when it comes to Ramadan. As an outsider in their religion and beliefs, it can show them respect if you acknowledge their Ramadan season. Simple greetings like “Ramadan Mubarak,” “Ramadan Kareen” or just “Happy Ramadan” shows them that you acknowledge and respect their tradition.

  1. Normalcy When Eating Out

Since most Muslim people interact with other people outside their religion, there are instances when they are invited to lunch meetings and the like. If you are a colleague inviting out a Muslim commemorating Ramadan, it is important to feel comfortable with the fact that they are not going to eat. It is part of their test and they fast voluntarily. It would also be helpful if you avoid bringing up the subject all the time, especially since the fasting itself is already a challenging task for anyone.

(Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
  1. Halitosis is Part of the Process, Sorry

Because Muslims do not eat or drink during the fasting season, it is expected out of any human to have halitosis. Even if they brush their teeth every hour, if they do not eat, there will still be some remains there that might cause the smell. To show your respect, refrain from pointing this out to them because they already know how it smells. They would even try to keep distance while speaking so they can hide this.

  1. Iftar is a Welcome Celebration

Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink during daytime but they do have Iftar meals, or dinners at the end of the day. It is the breaking of the food after sundown. For them, this is their breakfast. Since this is kind of a reward for them at the end of the day, the Iftar meal is considered a celebration. Join one if you can. This will also be a good opportunity to learn about the Muslim culture.

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The Iftar meals are usually conducted in Mosques every night. They do prayer vigils and participate heavily in charity during Ramadan.

Fasting is a very difficult activity, but Muslims do not use it as an excuse to slack off in school or in work. However, it would be of great help to them if you allow them to nap from time to time.

Here’s to showing Muslim people our appreciation and respect to their culture.

[Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images]