In our latest article, part of Ramadan In The Workplace: In Focus, we look at the social, psychological & physical health benefits of fasting during Ramadan.

What’s Ramadan about?

Ramadan is 1 of the 5 pillars of Islam and takes place during the 9th month on the Islamic Calendar. People partake in fasting for 30 days with the intention of bettering themselves in the principles of faith. Fasting takes place from daybreak (currently 1.14am) until sunset.

The reason for this is to discipline the mind and body, the idea being that abstaining from food and drink prompts you to realise and reflect on the luxuries you have in life; learning to be grateful for what you have.

Ramadan is a time for Muslims to reflect, with the goal to change their character for the good. Like New Year’s resolutions, many take the opportunity to begin new  commitments.

The Psychological Effects

Ramadan is not merely physical. Fasting is a commitment of the person’s body and soul to the spirit of the fast: a spiritual self-purification method. Through fasting, much work on ones acts of worship, and aims to purify the soul; cleansing impurities and refocusing one’s self of worship.

Ramadan is about aiming to improve good moral character and habits. Not only do people cut out food and drink, an equally important aspect of Ramadhan but often overlooked by non-Muslims with the focus of conversations being on food and drink, is to abstain from negative vices and habits such as arguing, fighting, or lustful thoughts. It is the fasting of the tongue, ears and eyes that is in fact more challenging.

During this time, many focus on establishing self-control, and relearning positive life changing habits. People acquire patience, strong will, and discipline. Striving for Ihsaan is the aim, which means righteousness and sincerity.

In the UK, the Ramadan fasting model has been used by health departments to reduce cigarette smoking.

Prayer is significant during Ramadan, serving a purpose to sharpen the awareness  of and closeness to God, and gives people strength and self-control.

The Physical Health Benefits

  • Fasting may promote insulin sensitivity, which helps the aid of healthy blood pressure, cholesterol levels, a healthier weight and heart functions, as well as reducing the overall risk of diabetes.
  • Fasting may promote healthy guts: which in turn aids immune and digestive processes.
  • Fasting can help lower of blood sugar & cholesterol
  • Increasing boost of will power: If you think of willpower as a muscle, the more you work the muscle with exercise, the stronger and more powerful it will become. When people engage in self-control, individuals learn to control their consumptions of unhealthy habits. Exercising self-control like in Ramadan helps people refocus on psychological wellbeing, and what is important to them.

The Social Effects

During Ramadan, it is traditional for Muslims to collect and donate to charities. Communities come together to donate to local mosques for good causes. This time is a period of reflection for many; many find new awareness of their lives and find feelings of gratefulness.

Giving to charity is just as important as fasting. Muslims are obliged to give 2.5% of their assets to charity, (this is known as known as Zakah) and is another of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadhan is also known as the month of selflessness and charity, with more than £100million estimated to be donated to charity by British Muslims during the month.  A report in 2016 calculated Muslim charitable donations at an incredible £38 each second during Ramadhan.

Ramadan develops spiritual, social and moral values. During this time the poor are given attention and charity, and faith led neighbourhoods practice hospitality. Fasting aims to establish equality between the rich and poor, as the rich experience hunger and learn  to show respect and appreciate  the less fortunate..

Ramadan Aware Employers

Employers are encouraged to adopt practical approaches to deal with employees during Ramadan.  This includes engaging with the workforce, and considering temporary arrangements such as flexible working hours or remote working.

For further information, please contact our employment department, Partner and Head Yunus Lunat on 0113 284 5023 or alternatively email

Read our other Ramadan In The Workplace: In Focus blog posts:

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