Ramadhan refers to the month of fasting for Muslims. The Islamic fast is obligatory, for a specific period of time from dawn to sunset, and in a specific lunar month, which varies from year to year. It involves a renunciation of all appetites and desires of the flesh during that month for defined hours, with a cheerful and willing acceptance. Sunset signifies the achievement of victory over one’s self during the day.

Ramadhan is intended to inculcate a spirit of fortitude and gratitude. The atmosphere of the month is such that positive thoughts are automatically invoked on a 24-hour basis. Such thoughts, wish the welfare of one and all, Muslims as well as non-Muslims.

In Islam this act of restraint in Ramadhan strengthens the will, increases patience and develops will power. The impact of this helps an individual overcome compulsion and addictions.

During the Islamic fast, Muslims believe that every organ in the body given in trust by Allah (God), is put to a critical test. This is considered to be a training session for Muslims to develop taqwa (God-consciousness) and piety.

Taqwa is considered the most valuable fruit of fasting. Just as plants have their own season of flowering, so Ramadhan is the season of the year, for blossoming of goodness, virtue and piety. The purpose of the Islamic fast is to obey Allah’s command. Through this exercise, Muslims complete a period of inner reflection, develop a strong sense of community and in particular give to Charity.

During Ramadhan, Muslims learn to inculcate in themselves the art of patience. This, together with lessons and reminders to amend broken ties, ask for forgiveness and forgive all those who wronged them, enhance their own personal qualities.

The fasting Muslim is continuously tied with rules and regulations for one full month, the following eleven months should demonstrate whether the training has been adequate and effective. Muslims celebrate ‘ Eid-ul-Fitr (Feast of breaking the fast), also called al-`Eid-ul-Saghir (the Minor Feast) at the end of Ramadhan.

Time off – common Q & As

Q – Can I start work earlier than normal to allow me to finish early?

A – You cannot start work before the start of the flexi bandwidth; however it may be possible for you to start earlier than usual if your line manager agrees.

Any religion or belief should be respected as stated in the Civil Service Diversity and Equality policy on Religion and Belief


One way management can do this is by treating requests for time off / finishing early for religious reasons sympathetically. Discretion should be used within the rules for granting annual leave, flexi leave or special leave without pay, whilst ensuring the effective running of business operations.

Q – Can I work through my lunch break in order to leave early?

A – Legally, all full time staff should take at least 30 minutes break during the first six hours of their working day. Whilst this does not necessarily mean they have to have their lunch/meal during this time it is a break away from work. There are Health and Safety implications, which require the Department to adhere to this. It is up to the discretion of the line manager to grant flexible working arrangement during lunch hours.

As an example, in an office with few Muslims it may be quite straightforward to allow an individual to start early and leave early; however in an office with a larger Muslim population, managers will need to ensure that there is no detriment to the business, whilst remaining flexible to individual requests.

Health & Safety – Individuals must take responsibility for their own well-being and managers should be aware that fasting may cause drowsiness, loss of concentration and possible fainting. Our normal first aid procedures would apply in these circumstances and managers are responsible for ensuring that individuals who are unable to continue working are able to return home safely.