Muslim Indeedians provide insight into the holy month of Ramadan and how Indeed supports them as they fast, pray and reflect.
With the new moon sighting on April 13, the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins. Since Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, Muslims around the globe celebrate one month of fasting (from dawn to sunset), prayer, reflection and community.
“It’s a time of reflection and a reminder about the importance of the month. It’s a time to focus on spirituality and mindfulness.” Anwar Parvez, Senior Project Manager in Austin, TX, explains.
“The essence of Ramadan is to feel for those who are less fortunate, and remind ourselves of the blessings we take for granted. While well situated people often enjoy three meals a day, many others may go hungry for days,” says QA Automation Engineer Islam Elkhalifa in Austin, TX.
“It reiterates the forgotten reasons why I should be thankful. Personally, Ramadan reignites my drive to give back to those who struggle on a daily basis, either financially, due to racial injustice, or oppression of any kind,” he adds.
“Ramadan reinforces patience and respect between people and teaches self-discipline and self control.”
Beyond fasting, a major component of Ramadan is being charitable by giving either time or money. Ameena Khan, Support Analyst in Scottsdale, AZ saw an opportunity to connect this tradition with Indeed’s charity matching program GOODdeeds.
“This Ramadan, we created a GOODdeeds campaign so my colleagues and I could donate to humanitarian causes. Encouraging employees to create GOODdeeds campaigns conveys that Indeed is invested in helping employees make a positive impact in the community,” Ameena says.
Donations to this campaign go to different charities that help support refugees and asylum seekers across the world, with a range of services, including food, clean water, sanitation, primary health care and education. Indeed matches these donations up to $250.
“Coming from Bangladesh and a family that heavily donates to orphanages and also feeds people who are less fortunate, I miss dining with the orphan kids and new families every year and try to now support the cause financially as much as I can,” says Senior Account Executive Ratib Zaman in New York City.
In order to reflect and gather together as a community, the Muslims at Indeed Affinity Group partnered with Indeed’s International Inclusion Resource Group (IRG) to host a virtual panel discussion with Muslims and allies, giving Indeedians a platform to exchange experiences and talk about the stigma around being a Muslim.
In the spirit of Inclusion & Belonging, one of Indeed’s core values, all Indeedians, no matter if they are Muslim were welcomed. Events like this are always a great learning opportunity and in this particular event helps fellow Indeedians be an ally for the Muslim community.
“Having spaces (especially virtual spaces while Working From Home) to share my Ramadan experience with my managers, colleagues and other Muslim Indeedians makes me feel like I belong and can contribute to Indeed’s company culture.” Ameena adds.
To give a framework to other Indeedians, and especially to support manager’s empathetic leadership skills, the Muslim affinity group created a Ramadan guide with useful tips for those who have fasting muslims within their team.
Faz Lashari, a Senior Client Success Specialist in London was actively involved in the project team that worked on the Ramadan guide.
“Indeed has been a special place for me, in the last year alone I was involved with many other Muslims around the globe helping to bring a new guide to Ramadan, this was key to helping managers and teammates understand what to expect from someone who is fasting during Ramadan,” Faz says.
“Also, as part of Indeed’s Asian Network in London, I was able to share Ramadan stories and do quizzes with the wider London office to educate non-Muslims, which to me was a very rewarding experience.”
For Ameena, it’s difficult to gauge how her body would react to fasting for a prolonged period of time.
“I sometimes feel like I’m on “auto-pilot” when I fast, and other days I can be energized and very productive. This means that I may need more flexibility in my work schedule so I can continue to fast while being productive at work.”
Shauz Haiderali, Client Success Team Lead in Toronto comments: “Although my work schedule doesn’t change much in Ramadan, my manager and team are very accommodating if I need to take short breaks throughout the day or even split my work hours some days. The first few days and the last few days of Ramadan can be difficult for me as the body adjusts to the modified sleep cycle and diet.”
Ratib tries to focus more on the things that need to be done and be busy throughout the day so the thought of being hungry or thirsty doesn’t cross his mind. Knowing that he can always rely on his team is a huge win for Ratib.
“My team and my Director are extremely adaptable to the month of Ramadan as the whole team would refrain from eating in front of me (not that it bothers me), rescheduling all team outings, and try to do intermittent fasting along with me to show their support,” Ratib says.
“The main positive Ramadan experience working at Indeed that makes a huge difference is my peer’s and manager’s willingness to learn about Ramadan and ask questions about my culture and Islam.”
“Also, Indeed’s open PTO policy allows me to take the time off to focus on internal reflection and have a more spiritually fulfilling Ramadan. My teammates, colleagues and managers are continuously encouraging, supportive and understanding while I fast,” Ameena adds.
“Despite being a multinational company, Indeed encourages employees to connect and build networks at work. People I’ve met at Indeed (either in-person or virtually) have been approachable, willing to collaborate and providing helpful feedback.”
“The approachable nature of Indeed’s company culture has allowed me to find a network of Indeedians I connect with based on shared experiences, like the Muslims at Indeed Affinity Group, and help me be my authentic self at work,” she adds.
“As a practicing Muslim, it’s a true testament that Indeed is a strong advocator of diversity, equity and inclusion.” Anwar concludes. “Working at Indeed affords people the opportunity to feel accepted for their diversity.”
Watch the video below to learn more about Indeed’s International Inclusion Group.
Read more Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging stories here.