Ramadan starts next Monday, May 5th* and here, Qusva Ilyas, our Matron for General Surgery, pictured on Eid last year, tells us more about what it means to her.
Could you share why Muslims observe Ramadan?
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. Muslims observe fasting on the 9th lunar month in the Islamic calendar called Ramadan. It is used to demonstrate faith, spiritual improvement and self-discipline by abstaining from food, drink and other activities during daylight hours. Ramadan is prescribed for those able to do so. So children, the sick and very old are not obligated to fast.
What does Ramadan mean to you and your family?
Ramadan to me represents love, togetherness and an awareness of how blessed we are. For my family it is a time to be more giving and generous to others. We all make extra effort to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
Do you make any special preparations for Ramadan?
We tend to prepare more activities to do in this month to make the time go faster. It can be a long day! Especially to involve the kids – we have a Ramadan calendar (almost like an advent calendar - see below) that is full of treats and different things to do. For example on the third day of Ramadan we would ask the children to think of one thing they would like to donate to charity and which charity they would like to donate to plus a chocolatey treat.
What does your typical day look like during Ramadan?
A typical working day for me would be to wake up before sunrise. I'll have something to eat, drink lots of water, say my morning prayers (one of five) and go to work, where I'll be productive!!
Come home and have a monster nap until fast opens at sunset!
Help with preparing food, eat, and then go to the mosque to say the evening prayers.
What do you enjoy about Ramadan?
That I get to reflect on my faith. It is a beautiful reminder about how it is full of peace, love and giving to others.
I also love Eid which is the big celebration day at the end of the month.
Is there any special food you eat to keep you fuelled throughout the day?
Lots of watermelon!!! Plenty of fluids which means plenty of visits to the loo at the start and end of the day! But it is important to try and stay hydrated. Although we enjoy fried food, fruit, vegetables and slow release carbs are a must!
Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Nikki Hosty, said: "Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is a key element of The Cupboard - our new digital people strategy. And part of this is about encouraging colleages to share their experiences to build understanding and inclusivity within our workforce.
"I'd love to hear from you if you would like to be involved in sharing your personal experience with colleagues. Please mail me Nicola.firstname.lastname@example.org"
*Ramadan is observed from the sunset of the 5th May 2019 until 4th June 2019. We have a fact sheet on our Chaplaincy pages of the intranet (See Islam section). It contains useful information about health and fasting, and can help collegues effectively deal with issues they may face in providing care to patients in the wards as well as staff and other service users.