Ramadan begins on the evening of Tuesday 15 May and ends on the evening of Thursday 14 June. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, but the date changes each year. It falls during this month because this is when the holy book that’s followed by Muslims, called the Qur’an, was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

At the end of Ramadan there is a special three-day festival. It is called Eid al-Fitr – the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.

What does it involve?

Periods of fasting for Muslims means abstaining from food and drink (including water). Not everybody fasts during Ramadan. Children, those who are pregnant, the elderly and those who are ill or who are travelling don’t have to fast.

Responsibility of employers

Being responsive to the religious belief and practices of staff during Ramadan includes offering flexibility around existing holiday entitlement, working patterns and break periods. It is good practice to accommodate staff requests wherever possible and plan ahead in terms of staffing.

We have collected a range of resources for employers – see Religion or Belief Resources

General situation for patients

  1. As far as possible a patient’s choice should be respected and advice should be offered on medical grounds.
  2. Consult the Muslim Imam if necessary in terms of the health of the patient and communicating with the patient. For example, for people with acute illnesses, fasts can be broken and made up later.
  3. If possible hospital appointments should be given at appropriate times (e.g. outside prayer times).
  4. It’s also important that people taking regular medication, such as for diabetes or high blood pressure, continue to take this as prescribed until they’ve spoken to their doctor about how to fast safely.
  5. It is important that people should adequately rehydrate before a fast. The risk of dehydration is higher in older people.

Information on fasting and health from NHS Choices. Also further guidance from the Muslim Council of Britain.