Ramadan begins Sunday: What you need to know to better support patients, families and colleagues

May 3, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

Ramadan begins on Sunday.

Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and worship for Muslims around the world, begins on Sunday.

To better support patients, families and colleagues, here’s what you may not know about the observance:

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the month of fasting and worship for Muslims around the world. It is celebrated as the month in which the Prophet Mohammad received the first revelations that make up the Quran.

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and drink (including water) from dawn until dusk. Fasting in Ramadan is one of the fundamental obligations of faith. Muslims are encouraged to eat a meal before dawn, and then break the fast immediately after sunset with the iftar meal. In the evening, many Muslims attend congregational prayers until midnight or 1 a.m.

When is it?

Ramadan begins and ends with the sighting of the new moon. This year, the month is projected to fall between May 5 and June 5. Throughout the month, the fast lasts from roughly 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. — making for a roughly 16.5 hour fast every day.

How does it affect those who are observing?

U-M’s latest DEI survey estimated that the Muslim community comprises 2-3 percent of the student body. Hundreds of students studying, researching and working this spring semester will be observing the fast. Additionally, patients, families, faculty and staff across Michigan Medicine and the university will participate as well.

What can I do to support those observing?

  • Acclimate: Let people know that you are aware that they may be fasting. Signaling awareness goes a long way toward making individuals comfortable.
  • Point to resources: The Department of Spiritual Care’s Muslim chaplaincy can be a resource throughout the month. For more information about Spiritual Care, please click here. To request a consultation or meeting on behalf of a patient or family member, call 734-936-4041 or email UMHS-Chaplain@med.umich.edu.