As millions around the world celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, employees at a Manchester firm have also put their hunger cravings aside by fasting alongside their Muslim colleagues.
Staff at Barings Law, which employs more than 100 people at its city centre office, have been standing side by side with their Muslim co-workers by not eating or drinking between sunrise and sunset.
The firm’s 11 Muslim employees observing Ramadan this year, were joined by 7 willing participants who also refrained from food or drink on Wednesday 29th March.
Barings Law has also gifted staff with traditional boxes of dates, the proceeds from which provide school meals for children around the world, and has given £15 food vouchers to those who are fasting.
The supported fast was initially due to non-Muslim colleagues wanting to discover more about Ramadan and the experiences Muslims have throughout the holy month. What they took away from their abstaining period was more reflective than they had initially thought.
Ceylan Kolukisa, a non-Muslim paralegal who fasted for a day, spoke about her experience:
“I was nervous at first, but I took part out of respect for my Muslim colleagues.
“I could not have done this without their support, and it has deepened my respect for how those who fast can carry on with their normal day in Ramadan, which I highly commend.
“I found the experience really fascinating and it gave me an opportunity to stop and think about what life is like for people during this month – something I’ve only given little thought to. They were good reflections to have, so I think I’ll try fasting again.
“It was tough, and I am super grateful for my cup of tea now.”
Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar during which Muslims fast for 30 days.
Taking place every year, the month is supposed to help followers focus on gaining spiritual enlightenment.
This year the festival began on March 23rd and will culminate in the annual celebration of Eid.
Practicing Muslim, Abshir Mussa, who is also a paralegal at the firm, says he’s been fasting since the age of 12.
“I’m so pleased at how supportive Barings Law has been. Seeing my non-Muslim colleagues fast, gives everyone a little boost and I feel a sense of camaraderie between us,” he said.
“It is comforting to know that I’m in such a supportive environment, which lets me complete my religious
obligation with peace of mind.
“Hopefully, my colleagues who fasted, can have a greater appreciation for everything we take for granted daily, such as access to food.
“The key tip I would give anyone looking to take part, is drink plenty of water after you break your fast and before you start it.”
Managing Director, Craig Cooper, added: “We use the term ‘family’ a lot at Barings Law, but it is something we really believe, and it is great to see colleagues from across the firm come together in this way.
“We’re constantly looking for ways to support our staff so they can continue to provide the very best service to our clients.
“We wish everyone celebrating this year’s festival a very pleasant Ramadan and a happy Eid.”