Learn about Ramadan with Avanade’s new Muslim Employee Network
- Posted on March 15, 2023
- Estimated reading time 4 minutes
Last month, Avanade launched its first-ever Muslim Employee Network. It’s been an exciting journey so far, and we can’t wait to continue growing the network over the course of our first year.
One of our key goals as a network is to provide educational resources to people across Avanade, creating opportunities to foster discussion and building community amongst our Muslim colleagues and allies. That’s especially relevant as we approach the beginning of Ramadan, the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic calendar, when most practicing Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. As Muslims, we often receive questions from our non-Muslim colleagues who are curious about what Ramadan entails or want to hear what it’s like to fast while balancing a busy work schedule. And while you can always read about Ramadan online, sometimes it’s helpful to get a more personal glimpse into a real person’s religious practice to help you understand new concepts.
With that in mind, I spoke to Ahmed Ali, a Cloud Engineering Analyst based in Atlanta, to learn a bit more about how he approaches Ramadan. Take a look through Ahmed’s story below and keep an eye out for new vocab terms while you read – we’ve included a glossary at the bottom of the page to help you follow along!
How does Ahmed prepare for Ramadan?
Fasting is one of the 5 pillars of Islam1, but Ahmed also uses Ramadan as a time to improve himself spiritually, physically and mentally. It is a month of self-improvement and a time to better himself as a Muslim and as a man.
Having fasted for around 10 years now, Ahmed is a Ramadan rockstar and says he does not really need much time to prepare other than spacing out meals one to two days ahead of the first day of the month.
How does Ahmed adjust to life during Ramadan?
The first few days are tough, but Ahmed’s schedule doesn’t change much during Ramadan. His sleep schedule needs to be adjusted due to being up later at night praying the nightly prayer, Taraweeh2, and waking up in the morning to eat the morning meal, suhoor3, before the fast. But his work schedule doesn’t need to be changed beyond that, Alhumdulillah4.
What food does he look most forward to?
Ahmed's background is Ethiopian and Somali. One food that Ethiopians prepare during Ramadan is the sambusa, which is very similar to the south Indian samosa. It’s his favorite dish to eat during the month, and his mom only makes them during Ramadan.
How has Ahmed’s observance of Ramadan evolved over time?
Ahmed first began fasting in the summer when he didn’t have school. As a teen, he used to sleep during the day and stay up most of the night. He’d usually stay up past fajr5, which marks the beginning of the day’s fast in the morning.
During college, when Ramadan started creeping into the school year, his schedule was more consistent. In 2019, he experienced his first time working a full-time job while fasting. He would eat at night, bypassing suhoor, and wake up for a full day of work.
Ramadan jumps 10 days ahead in the Gregorian calendar each year, so the seasons of fasting change. As Ahmed's gotten older, he's adjusted accordingly, and developed a better understanding for the purpose of fasting.
What does Ahmed most look forward to during Ramadan?
Ahmed looks forward to Ramadan because of the community of Muslims around him – he loves seeing people for suhoor or iftaars6at night when the fast is broken. Growing up, Ahmed attended a public school where none of his friends were Muslim, and he rarely spent time with other Muslims outside of his own family. It left him feeling disconnected and unable to appreciate Ramadan on a deeper level.
Once Ahmed started college, though, he was able to make more Muslim friends. Once he spent time at the masjid7(also known as a mosque) for the sake of Allah and his faith, then he learned to see Ramadan in a different light. With a Muslim community, he learned to embrace the month’s emphasis on good deeds, and barakah8 itself.
In his professional life, Avanade has been a huge help in Ahmed’s Ramadan journey. The flexibility of working remotely has allowed him to keep up with his religious duties and keep his productivity high. He feels that he has adequate support to have a successful Ramadan this year – and we hope that the addition of a Muslim EN will leave all our Muslim colleagues feeling surrounded by community and joy this Ramadan.
- 5 Pillars of Islam, Salah (Prayer), Zakat (Charity), Shahaddah (Testimony of Faith), Saum (Fasting), Hajj (The pilgrimage to Mecca)
- Taraweeh – Muslims perform an additional set of nightly prayers during Ramadan.
- Suhoor – Meal Muslims eat before the sunrise to commence their fasting
- Alhumdulilah – Praise be to God
- Fajr – first prayer of the day for Muslims occurring at dawn
- Iftaar – Meal Muslims eat to break their fast at sunset
- Masjid – place of worship/prayer
- Barakah – Blessings