- Muslims in the workplace will abstain from eating and drinking during the month of Ramadan, which occurs from May 5 to June 4 this year.
- While many Muslims enjoy talking about Ramadan, try not to mandate coworkers attend lunch meetings, and don’t expect them to be overly talkative.
- Here are seven things to avoid saying to Muslim coworkers during Ramadan.
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From May 5 to June 4, or the ninth month of the lunar calendar, healthy adult Muslims around the world will participate in the month of Ramadan. Muslims use the month to purify their souls and become closer to God.
During the month, Muslims eat their meals before sunrise and after sunset, and refrain from eating during the day. If you have a Muslim coworker, you may find yourself nervous to eat in front of them or say something to offend them.
But you shouldn’t be worried about insulting your coworker, Ibrahim Hooper, the communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told Business Insider. Hooper said Muslims enjoy when coworkers take interest in the month.
"It’s OK to ask questions. In fact, Muslims like to talk about these things," Hooper said. "It’s always appreciated if you recognize a Muslim coworker is fasting during Ramadan."
While most questions are alright, there are a few phrases that you should avoid asking a fasting coworker if possible.
Here are five things to avoid saying to your Muslim coworkers during Ramadan:
Don’t insist a coworker eat or come to a lunch meeting.
While most questions regarding Ramadan are OK, insisting a coworker eat or drink can be offensive, Hooper said, though he said this happens rarely.
Similarly, some Muslims may feel uncomfortable joining a mandatory lunch meeting. Inc suggests asking your coworker what he or she prefers, and Hooper suggests rescheduling the time of work-related lunch meetings.
While wishing a coworker "Happy Ramadan" isn’t offensive or inaccurate, most Muslims use the Arabic translation, "Ramadan Mubarak," to greet each other.
You can also say "Ramadan Kareem," which means "have a generous Ramadan," according to USA Today.
Asking someone if they "can’t even drink water" isn’t offensive, but Muslims have likely heard this question many times before. Just remember that Muslims abstain from all food and drink during daytime, and use pre-dawn and post-dusk time to get their water supply.
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