How to help Muslim pupils (and staff) during Ramadan

Image by Yogendra Singh from Pixabay

Tomorrow, Muslims in Britain will start the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This is also the month when the first revelation of Quran was sent down by Allah. Ramadan is the month during which Muslims the world over will fast from sunrise to sunset. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam.

The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Quran was revealed as guidance for mankind, and as clear signs that show the right way and distinguish between right and wrong. So those of you who witness the month must fast in it. But the one who is sick, or is on a journey (should fast) as much from other days (as he missed). Allah intends (to provide) ease for you and does not intend (to create) hardship for you. All this is so that you may complete the number (of fasts as prescribed) and proclaim the Takbīr of Allah for having guided you, and (so) that you may be grateful. Quran 2:185

During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating and drinking (they won’t drink even water) and make greater efforts to pray, read Quran and give charity. Fasting becomes obligatory when a person reaches puberty. This means children who are in school may be fasting too. Below are some ways you can make it easier for any Muslim students in your school who may be fasting.

  1. It is best not to ask a Muslin student if they are fasting. They may not feel comfortable telling you if they are or not. It’s better to put policies and procedures in place which they can use if they want/need to
  2. Have a look at your school start time and see if it is possible to allow your Muslim students to come in a bit later. As the days are long, Muslims will be staying up late to offer the night prayer and extra prayers which are offered during Ramadan. They will also be getting up early to eat something before sunrise. If the students can come in slightly later, it may help them get a little more time in bed
  3. Also be mindful of the fact that they will probably feel tired towards the end of the day
  4. If you are going to be having exams/mocks/tests, it may be helpful to schedule them earlier in the day when the students won’t be tired and so can concentrate more
  5. Allow them to miss PE if they want to
  6. Ensure pupils are not pressured to taste stuff during Food Technology lessons
  7. Think about rescheduling Relationships education to before or after Ramadan as Muslims are required not to think of sexual matters while fasting
  8. Some students may catch up on sleep when to go home. They may also want to spend more time than usual praying or reading the Quran. You can help them by extending some deadlines for them if at all possible so they don’t feel pressured
  9. Providing a space where they can rest will be greatly appreciated, especially during lunch when everyone else will be eating
  10. The afternoon prayer will fall during the school day. Think if there is place in the school where they can go to pray
  11. Ablution before praying is obligatory. If you have Muslim female students who wear a hijab, then finding a way they can remove theor headscarf whle doing ablution without being seen by boys/men would be greatly appreciated by them
  12. Be mindful of the fact that even young children may be fasting. In many families, it is customary for young children for whom fasting isn’t obligatory to let them fast for the whole or half a day
  13. Think about letting your Muslim students explain what Ramadan means to them and what they do during this month. This will ensure that their peers are aware and sensitive to their needs
  14. Asking Muslim parents if they would like to do an assembly about Ramadan is a great way to engage with your community
  15. Eid is the celebration which follows Ramadan. M daughters used to take a day off school when younger. When they were older and exams were looming, they offered the Eid prayers in the mosque and went into school later. Their school was very understanding and allowed them to take the whole or part of the day off. My daughters and I greatly appreciated this
  16. Art projects could be themed around Ramadan so the whole class makes things which they can decorate the classroom with. This will make the Muslim children feel valued when they see their peers giving importance to something which is of importance to them
  17. Finally, if you have Muslim staff, think about them too
    1. Think about arranging a quiet place where they can offer the afternoon prayer
    2. They may want to work through lunch and go home earlier than usual. If they do, then do facilitate this. Some may be able to have an early start and finish (admin staff, for example). Offer them this flexibility
    3. During COVID staff are probably not going to be going out for meals but this is something to remember once we are past COVID
    4. Offer to cover for them on 28th Ramadan and Eid day (the night of 27th Ramadan is a special night for praying and Muslims try and spend a large part of the night, if not the whole night praying
    5. Reschedule relationships education lessons (see Point 7 above)
    6. Offer admin and other staff flexible start and finish times, if possible

These are some of the things I’ve thought of to help Muslim students and staff during Ramadan. Is there anything more you would add?

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8 Responses to How to help Muslim pupils (and staff) during Ramadan

  1. Kk says:

    Go away Naureen


  2. tjwprice says:

    Thanks, Naureen. A very helpful blog.

    There is no need for nasty comments ‘Kk’.


  3. Gazza says:

    Why do we need to be more inclusive for Ramadan and the country isn’t laden with institutional racism and unconscious bias, Naureen. You don’t do yourself any favour, Grandma


  4. H says:

    A very useful blog, very much appreciated. Not sure why the need for unkind comment, love and let live. As a Christian, if I can support Muslim (any other faith and no faith) students in my school then I will.


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