We celebrate Diversity at M&T Resources and are proud to support the diverse customs of the great people that make up our team. On Wednesday July 6, Ayisha Naeem and Zunaeed Kamal spent the day away from the office, celebrating Eid-al-Fitr with their families and friends. On their return to work, we asked them to share with us some thoughts on Ramadan, what it means to them and how this important religious practice fits into their working life.
Here’s what they had to say:
Diversity @ M&T: What is Ramadan?
Ayisha Naeem, Recruitment Consultant, ACT
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic / Lunar calendar and starts with the sighting of the crescent moon. Muslims throughout the world practice fasting for an entire month during which they do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. Families wake up early every day, before the sun rises, to eat a meal which is known as “Sohour”. After the sun sets, the fast is broken by eating dates followed by a meal. Opening the fast with a date provides a quick energy boost, and is a practice observed by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SWT).
Importance of this tradition
Fasting in the month of Ramadan holds great importance in a Muslim’s life. It is one of the fundamental religious duties, known as the Five Pillars of Islam. It is a month of self-reflection and self-control. It is a means to become closer to God and nurtures a Muslim’s spiritual side. Fasting also creates empathy for the poor and less fortunate in the world; it serves to remind Muslims of the sufferings of the poor and to be thankful for what they have. It is important to note that fasting is not obligatory for people who are ill, mentally challenged, elderly or pregnant.
During this time, Muslims around the globe participate by donating charity to the poor. This can be achieved through individual contributions, donations to charity organisations or holding charity events.
Ramadan ends when the first crescent of the new moon is sighted. This is observed by celebrating Eid-al-Fitr where all families and friends come together for special prayers followed by meals and the exchanging of gifts. Across the globe, people dress in their finest clothes, decorate their houses, give treats to friends, family, neighbours and the poor. As Ramadan comes to a close, Zakat al Fitr is also observed which involves giving monetary contribution to the poor and less fortunate.
Ramadan at M&T Resources
Zunaeed Kamal, Regional Director, ACT
Ayisha and I have been working at M&T Resources for about three years and this is our third Ramadan in this organisation.
Performing Ramadan in an office with people who are not familiar with the custom can be quite challenging. This is particularly the case when meeting clients for coffee or attending work lunches, since these are occasions where one would typically eat and drink. In my experience, I have found M&T Resources to be one of the most supportive organisations to work for whilst performing Ramadan. On joining the team, I was aware that M&T supported diversity, but the extent of this was well beyond my expectation.
As part of M&T’s DIVERSITY initiative, last year I was asked to deliver a presentation about Ramadan in our Manager’s meeting. Ayisha and I have also at times been given flexible hours due to the time of breaking the fast. We feel a real sense of support and camaraderie from our team who often join us to break the fast at work, sharing the meal with us, as we would at home with our families. In this environment we really feel that the diversity within our team is welcomed and celebrated by our colleagues and by the company as a whole.
Ramadan ends with the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr. This day has a similar level of importance to us as Christmas does in the Christian calendar. To respect this, M&T Resources has always been supportive of us spending this day with our family and friends, and we would generally be given the flexibility to have this day off. This brings challenges of its own due to the unpredictability of the date of the celebration because the exact day of Eid-ul-Fitr is dependent on the sighting of the crescent moon. For example, this year – if the crescent moon can be seen on Monday 4 July, the Eid-ul-Fitr will be on Tuesday 5 July. This unpredictability can of course prove challenging in and amongst work commitments. Both Ayisha and I enjoyed time celebrating this yesterday with our families.
Every year, Ramadan reminds us of self-restraint and the importance of looking after those who need our help. At M&T Resources we bring the reinforced values we gain through Ramadan to our day to day work. We practice self-restraint by developing a stronger hold on our emotions when something does not go as planned. We realise the importance of helping others – which goes along with our M&T purpose statement. These values also assist us to best look after those candidates who are in particular need of our help, and we take great joy in assisting them to achieve their next role and their own success.