During the blessed month of Ramadan, many Muslims slack off, showing up late at work (or not showing up at all), sleeping on the job, procrastinating, doing the least possible, and asking employers for shorter working days at the same wage rate.
This type of behaviour is inconsistent with the very spirit of Ramadan. Islam does not advocate a special working mode for Ramadan. Not only is this slacking against the spirit of Ramadan, but it is also expensive and damaging to employers and the national economy of these countries ‘with losses running in the billions of dollars.
No slacking during Ramadan Some quick tips for employees in Ramadan
- Establish when Ramadan is approaching and let your employer know that you will be fasting.
- Try to be disciplined about your eating and sleeping habits when you are not fasting. Don’t stay up late at night gorging yourself and watching TV/partying (which you should not be doing anyway). Your employer has a right on you’ staying up all night and then falling asleep on the job the next day (putting yourself and others at risk in certain jobs) would violate these rights.
- Ask the employer if they will allow you to continue working during lunch time (or take a shorter lunch break for praying) so that you can leave earlier. Otherwise, ask if you can use part of your lunch break to take a short power nap.
- Hydrate well during the night and at sehr and after iftar so that you do not get dehydrated on the job. Severe dehydration can lead to people passing out on the job, etc. and hurting yourself.
- Discuss with your employer the possibility of not having power lunches.
- If your employer has a canteen, try and arrange for it [or another space] to be available for your and other Muslims wishing to break their fast. Invite your employer to break fast with you.
- Ask the employer if they can schedule very physically demanding tasks for you after Ramadan.
- If possible avoid committing yourself to evening functions or to travel away from home for business.
- If possible, don’t schedule yourself during night shifts because of your need to perform extra prayers.
- Ask if you can schedule more volunteer, charitable work for your company during Ramadan. Many companies allow employees a certain number of paid hours during which they can volunteer to help out their community. Schedule yours during Ramadan for extra blessings.
Work Ethics for Ramadan
Our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, narrating it from Allah: ‘Every deed of the son of Adam is for him except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward for it.’ […] [Thus, the] Prophet Mohammad (SAW) has urged all Muslims to perform good deeds in the month of Ramadan, as the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) addressed us on the last day of Shabaan and said: people, there has come to you a great month, a blessed month, a month in which there is a night that is better than a thousand months. Allah has made its fasting obligatory and spending its nights in prayer a voluntary act. Whoever draws close (to Allah) during this month by doing a good deed will be like one who did an obligatory deed in any other month, and the one who does an obligatory deed in it will be like the one who did seventy obligatory deeds in any other month. It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is Paradise. It is the month of helping others. It is a month in which the believers’ provision is increased. Whoever gives a fasting person food with which to break his fast will have his sins forgiven and he will be ransomed from the Fire, and he will have a reward like his without it detracting from his reward in the slightest.
From this perspective, Muslims over the centuries and since the beginning of Islam were required to fast this month and perform all its religious duties. However, there are some Muslims who might unintentionally behave during Ramadan in a way that contradicts the philosophy of fasting and its spirit.
These negative behaviours might be seen during or outside work hours. It is essential that Muslims do not violate the rights of others as they try to become closer to God. Thus, the balance between the rights of God and the rights of His servants is critical. Violating the rights of others is injustice to them. Prophet (SAW) said, narrating it from Allah: O my slaves, I have forbidden injustice to myself, and I have made it forbidden among you, so do not wrong one another.
Finally, we should all remember the words of the Prophet (SAW) when he said All rights will be restored on the Day of Resurrection, until even the hornless sheep will settle its score with the one that has horns. And cropping on the Day of Judgement is done by taking the good deeds of the unjust and removing the sins of the people he oppressed, as is reported in the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: Do you know who is the bankrupt one? They said: Among us, the one a bankrupt is the one who has no dirhams and no goods. He said: Rather the one who is bankrupt amongst my ummah is the one who will come on the Day of Resurrection with prayer, fasting and zakaah, but he will come having insulted this one, slandered that one, consumed the wealth of this one, shed the blood of that one and beaten this one, all of whom will be given some of his hasanaat (good deeds), and if his hasanaat run out before the scores have been settled, some of their sins will be taken and thrown onto him, then he will be cast into the Fire. Narrated by Muslim.
By: Nabeel Niaz