Some years back, if you asked me how I would support a Muslim friend during Ramadan, I would barely have coined a response. Like many non-Muslims, I thought that Ramadan was a one or two-day affair. So, I would wait for the official dates and sparkle up my timeline with a Ramadan Kareem message tagging my Muslim friends. Conceivably, that could be the reason why such words drown social and mass media when the Holy month officially starts.
Like me, many people do not know how they can support their Muslim friends, especially during this period. For the record, you do not have to be a Muslim to help a fellow Muslim. So now, brace yourself for you are just about to learn five Leading ways in which you can support your Muslim friends in Ramadan 2020.
Five ways in which you can support your Muslim friend during Ramadan 2020
1. Learn one or two things about the Islamic religion and support your Muslim friend
Unlike any other year, 2020 is one of the most Ramadan traditions that will be observed virtually. Therefore, there has been too much content that is available in Social, mass, and print media!
Do not just browse through to your favorite segment of the paper or scroll through to the juiciest gossip on social media. Spare a few minutes to learn more about the Islamic religion. You might be surprised there is too much that you are blindsided about concerning Islamism. Of course, make sure that the source of that information is authentic; there is a bunch of those sources that will be biased negatively or positively- such things happen.
Again, you can learn a lot from sharing a virtual Iftar meal with your friend. During this merrymaking and socializing time, you can join in on a video call or even chat where they may educate you on their norms and practices. Well, while your friend could be a great resource, be mindful of questions you ask publicly. Some of those would be embarrassing; for instance, asking them why they are not fasting- it could be they have a medical condition.
2. If at work, create a supportive environment for Muslims
While this Ramadan saw a huge chunk of the global working population at their houses, there is still a significant number of people working.
You can still support your colleague while at work!
Firstly, it is a grand gesture when you acknowledge that the Fast season has started. With this, you can be mindful of routines during this period.
Remember, Suhoor starts after morning prayers and Iftar after evening prayers. Hence, your Muslim friend will be beating more than 9 hours of fast. Trust you me: 9 hours or more they will not even have a drop of water, let alone food or snack over these hours of fast. And as you know, hunger and anger seem to have been born from the same mother. Over this Ramadan, you can be considerate while allotting duties in the afternoon when their energy levels are slowly burning out.
You can work with the predictions on Eid ul Fitr when making the duty rosters. It is during their period that they have the three-dayed feast of breaking fast. Like Christmas or any other faith-based holiday, you can let your Muslim friend take this time to socialize and interact with their families and friend. Where that is not possible, allow them to leave early or even let their off days coincide with the Eid Ul Fitr days.
In addition to that, do not stare when you see them in the washrooms cleaning up. Besides making them utterly uncomfortable, it is sort of rude. Just let them be. Nonetheless, your organization can also ensure they have provided a safe space where they can do their prayer routines.
3. Check if the timings for activities support your Muslim friend!
Do you want to support your friend this Ramadan? Be mindful about the time before allocating any duties to them.
Even though your Muslim friend is a peer in your study group, a colleague at work or even your neighbor be considerate when setting timelines. Remember, they have strict observance of the routines such as fast and prayers. Say, you are allocating classes, assignments, or even meetings, you may consider their traditions and comfort.
You do not want your friend, colleague, or neighbor to feel discriminated, against or as though their traditions are violated, right?
In that case, you can consider having most work or classes or activities earlier in the day when they are fresh and energetic. If morning hours cannot be plausible, you can discuss the scenario with them to see how best you can still achieve the set objectives and respect their Ramadan Norms.
4. Help your Muslim friend get connected with others virtually.
As in other sectors, Ramadan has been jinxed by the novel COVID-19 virus. This has led to numerous global and national advisories that have seen social distancing and travel bans soaring as a new norm. Thanks to technology, people can still reach out to each other.
Now that Not everyone is tech-savvy, you can support your Muslim friend by helping them get connected. Aside from showing them how to reach out to their distant beloved ones, also teach them how to access their spiritual programs. Yet again, you can educate them on how to secure their connections to buffer Islamophobic hackers who may interrupt their educative programs.
5. Finally, if possible, share foodstuff with your Muslim friend!
Being the month of fasting, the issue of food becomes one with the most misconceptions. Yes, they are fasting all day, but they will break the fast! Note that this Fasting period is not done blindly or due to peer pressure. Every day, when a Muslim wakes up, they have to come up with a Niyyah, which will guide their fasting that day. Hence, no one has forced them to fast. They are also perfectly aware you may not share the same culture. So, do not feel bad when it is lunchtime, and they cannot join in to share the meal.
At the same time, don’t be the one to put them into temptations on purpose. They are human! Their guts will literary burn in the digestive juices as they resist the urge. Upon them breaking fast for Iftar or even during Eid ul Fitr, it would be admirable to support your friend by sponsoring a meal.
During this pandemic spell, remember some areas are experiencing food shortages. Even worse, some of the people do not have the resources to buy the said foodstuff due to the massive job losses or any other reason. If this is the situation with your friends, you can also support your Muslim friend by sharing what you have in your food stores.
Showing support will go a long way in cultivating your friendship. You will be surprised by following the pointers above: you will be able to understand your friend more and, most importantly, gel your organization’s teams. See, two birds with the same quiver; your friend will feel loved and motivated.