Reinforcing my faith

Nihad Attab, one of our Professional Degree Apprentices, is studying for her degree over four years whilst apprenticed at Oxford Economics. She also leads on the sister’s side for the Economist Muslim Apprentice Network. Here she recalls childhood memories of Ramadan, and shares how she navigates the month now, whilst both studying and working.

‘Ramadan for me is all about a feel of belonging and unity. Every year it comes round, it revives the real community we have. Breaking the fasts with family and friends round a table consecutively for 30 days, or praying beside people of all walks of life in the mosque evenings during voluntary night prayers, attending open iftar events. The very thing uniting us being our faith and commitment to Islam. We believe Ramadan a holy month where any forms of worship, charity, and good deeds are multiplied in reward, that we get rewarded more during Ramadan for these voluntary prayers, breaking fasts with people, feeding others.

‘The normal work week schedule is definitely and undoubtedly disrupted’

Waking up to have a pre-fast meal (Suhoor) before sunrise and going to voluntary night prayers at the mosque (Taraweeh),  means early mornings, late nights..fatigue is often the case. I ran an introductory session for the EMAN recently to discuss Ramadan in the workplace and am planning an Iftar (the meal eaten at sunset to break the fast) which I hope will be beneficial and rewarding for all of us in my pursuit to build a tight-knit community.

Whilst navigating work and study during Ramadan, I found that the time management aspect of a degree apprenticeship really takes precedent. Ramadan is essentially all about discipline and becoming the better version of yourself. Personally, it means I prioritise my faith, making the most out of the month where good deeds are multiplied in reward, whilst being able to manage and maintain my regular work responsibilities and study commitments. Listing all the aspects that Ramadan encapsulates does serve to boost my morale whilst fasting as I often look forward to evenings with family and friends, socialising and attending nightly prayers at the mosque, and helping out in the community. A sense of purpose and source of fulfilment. For once, everyone’s schedules are aligned!

Growing up for me, Ramadan fell throughout summer as each year it occurs 10/11 days earlier on the Lunar calendar. I grew up seeing and admiring everyone’s sheer commitment to fasting significantly longer hours with much hotter weather and it instilled a sense of resilience and respect in me to then by the time I began fasting, I was eager and proud. Everyone used to gather round the table ready to eat and I realised Ramadan was what brought everyone together. It is meant to be tiring and challenging, which just reinforces my faith. I like my schedule disrupted, the brain needs novelty every now and then and Ramadan is perfect for that.’

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