19th April 2023
How do some of our Civica colleagues recognise Ramadan?
To better understand our diverse experiences, our UK Race and Ethnicity Affinity Group asked some of our Civicans to share more about what Ramadan means to them.
Our colleagues in the spotlight:
- Ayesha Shokar, Senior People Partner and Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Lead
- Nabil Islam, Support Analyst Apprentice
What does Ramadan mean to you?
Ayesha Shokar: Ramadan, which is observed by Muslims around the world, is a month of spirituality, fasting, self-reflection, community and giving generously. Ramadan helps us to improve our self-discipline and truly empathise with those who are less fortunate.
Nabil Islam: Ramadan is the ninth holy month of the Islamic calendar, lasting for 30 days, and is one of the five pillars of Islam that forms the core foundation of a Muslim. To me, Ramadan is a period that commemorates the revelation of the Qur’an but also a means of worship to deepen the spiritual connection with God. Likewise, Ramadan is a time for charity, to express gratitude for all the blessings in my life, and a time to leave behind bad habits and to form good habits that will carry on even after Ramadan.
Why do you think it’s important to recognise Ramadan?
Ayesha: For me, it’s that month in the year to really focus and do as many good deeds as I possibly can, and to truly appreciate what I have in my life and the loved ones around me.
Nabil: It’s important to recognise Ramadan because millions of Muslims around the world will be fasting for around 14 hours (abstaining from food or drink, that includes water) from dawn to sunset. This period can be quite challenging and in the last ten days, Muslims exert themselves to do as many good deeds as possible, take part in offering night prayers, and more.
How do you think your faith has impacted your current position?
Ayesha: My faith has always given me hope, meaning and direction. But more than that, it has given me a solid set of core values and morals. It has taught me to work hard and apply myself and to respect all those around me, treat people how I would like to be treated and help those in need. It has also opened my eyes to the fact that we are all different and has made me mindful of the inequalities and hardships that people face.
Nabil: When it comes to my faith, it has a positive effect on my current position, whereby I can freely use the wellbeing room at my workplace to carry out my daily prayers. And I’m able to work from home on Fridays so that I can attend Jummah (Friday prayer) every week, which I’m grateful for.
What makes you feel proud about Civica and your role?
Ayesha: Civica for me is a breath of fresh air; not many organisations truly embrace people for who they are. As DEI lead, I really want all Civicans to feel safe, comfortable and empowered to show up to work as their true selves.
Nabil: When it comes to my role within Civica, I’m proud to work amongst a supportive and close-knit team that supports one another and will always be there to answer any queries that I might have or any help that I need to develop my understanding throughout my role (i.e. access to resources, training with colleagues). Also, Civica has an inclusive environment that celebrates different people and cultures such as South Asian Heritage Month, Black History Month, and the ongoing holy month of Ramadan. When I first joined Civica in September, I never felt alienated; rather there was a sense of belonging, a warm welcome, and supportive colleagues around me which I’m very happy about.
Is there a figure of faith in history who has inspired you?
Ayesha: Growing up, I was always in awe of Mother Theresa, Nobel Peace Prize winner. There is so much that we can all learn from her compassion, love for humanity and unwavering dedication to help those in need. As she said, ‘Peace begins with a smile’ and we should all make an effort to smile more - after all it costs us nothing!
Nabil: A figure of faith in history that has really inspired me as a Muslim is Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him). He was a man who would constantly engage in charity, but more importantly, helping those who were in need. He would treat everyone equally with respect regardless of their ethnicity and background. These are qualities which I've been inspired to model my own behaviour on.