Skip to content

Embracing Diversity: Supporting Students and Colleagues During Ramadan

Amina Awal, Co-Vice President, Beds SU has put together the following article to highlight the support available to students observing Ramadan, but also to inform and offer insight for non-Muslim students in to this period.

Beds SU

By Beds SU

Thursday, 14 March 2024

Ramadan is underway and for most Muslims all over the world, it isn’t only a time of fasting but also a period of reflection, spirituality, and community. In this article, we’ll explore practical ways to accommodate fostering a culture of understanding, respect, and inclusion and support fasting individuals in educational and workplace settings.

Be Informed

Understanding the essence of Ramadan is key. During this month, practicing Muslims abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during daylight hours. But Ramadan is much more than just fasting. It's a time for self-examination, increased religious devotion, and acts of charity.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and it holds profound significance for Muslims worldwide, it commemorates the revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Fasting from dawn to sunset is a central tenet of Ramadan. (Ziaee et al., 2006, pp. 409, 411).

Fostering Compassion through Participation

For students and staff who are not partaking in Ramadan but wish to support their peers, students or staff who are, engaging in the following would be a lovely way to start:

• Participate in charitable activities that many Muslims engage in during Ramadan. This could range from food drives to community service projects.

• Join Iftar gatherings to experience the communal aspect of breaking the fast, which often emphasises togetherness and sharing.

Speaking of which, Beds SU will be hosting an Iftar gathering on the 21 March for students and staff who wish to break fast together or for those who wish to experience this gathering. You can find out more here to claim your free ticket and join us! In addition, Treehouse is currently running support from prayer rooms and having some non-perishable goods available to students when breaking fast at the following times and locations:

Room J015 Luton (Jummah prayers at 12.30 on the Luton campus every Friday in J012). In Bedford Iftar provisions and resources will be available at the Gateway centre close to reception and a temporary prayer room area will be available at 6-7pm as below.

6-7pm, G0.13 March 11th - 15th

6-7pm, G0.13 March 18th – 19th

6-7pm, G1.11 G1.11 March 21st

6-7pm, G0.13 March 22nd

6-7pm, G0.13 March 25th - 27th

6-7pm, G0.13 April 3rd – 5th

Where to go for support: The Treehouse Community and Faith Team are available for support as well as our volunteer Imams at Bedford and Luton contact

Local faith centres

In Luton and Bedford we have many faith centres. Please contact if information is required. 


The University is here to support you during Ramadan. Our dedicated Chaplaincy Team and faith contacts are also available. The following website may also be of helpMuslim Council of Britain launches Ramadan Guidance 2024, welcoming the Holy month | Muslim Council of Britain (

Demonstrating thoughtful consideration

Will be gratefully received by your peers and colleagues observing Ramadan, this could include:

• Not eating or drinking in front of fasting colleagues or students, out of respect, particularly if they have to be present in the same space.

• Understanding that consuming caffeine and sugar could cause energy slumps in fasting individuals, be patient with presumably reduced stamina, particularly as the month progresses.

Adjusting Workloads and Seeking Support

As your Co-Vice President, Sabbatical Officer and a current student at the University of Bedfordshire, I believe students need extra academic support during Ramadan. Assignments and exams often contribute additional stress and may intersect with heightened spiritual commitments and disrupted sleep patterns as students rise early for Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and stay up late for Isha (night prayer) and Taraweeh(extra nightly prayer). Some ways I believe the University could can assist are as follows:

• Providing additional academic support or tutoring during hours that better align with the students' new schedules.

• Being considerate when scheduling exams or major project due dates, possibly providing alternative dates for submission.

Flexibility in Scheduling

Students and colleagues who are fasting may experience changes in energy levels throughout the day, it would be useful of the following could be considered:

• Adjusting deadlines or offering quiet spaces for students to reflect or pray.

• Allowing employees to start their day earlier to coincide better with pre-dawn meals or leave earlier to break the fast with family.

For colleagues, workload awareness is just as crucial. Managers can proactively engage in conversations with staff to discuss potential peaks in workloads and explore ways to ensure that business needs are met while supporting individuals' needs during Ramadan.

It isn’t just support from an academic, work perspective that could help but being mindful about the scheduling of meetings could also help such as could encouraging inclusivity and engagement through holding a number of educational initiatives such as:

• Hosting a 'Ramadan Awareness' session for all students and staff to attend.

• Encouraging Muslim students and colleagues to share their experiences and practices often, just having the opportunity to explain the significance can bridge a lot of gaps in understanding and build community.

• Suggesting classroom activities that revolve around traditions from different cultures and invite students to speak about their Ramadan traditions, enhancing cultural curiosity and respect among peers.

Recognising the Conclusion of Ramadan

As Ramadan comes to an end, the festive celebration of Eid al-Fitr occurs. Recognising and acknowledging this celebration is a warm and inclusive gesture:

• I would like to see the University and teams consider granting Muslim students and colleagues’ time off to celebrate Eid with their families, as this is akin to major holidays in other faiths.

I am pleased to share that Beds SU will be hosting an Eid al-fitr event at the end of Ramadan, with all relevant information to be shared soon.

In my opinion, these collective actions, will not only uplift our Muslim peers but enrich ourselves with a deeper understanding of our world’s diverse cultures. If you agree with any of the points I have made above and wish to share your feedback then I would love to hear from you. Simply email me, once I have gathered feedback I will look at the next steps.

To conclude, the practice of respectfully supporting students and colleagues observing Ramadan builds a bridge between diverse cultural, observances and the universal human values of consideration and kindness.

Ramadan Mubarak

Article Written By Amina Awal

Co-Vice President Beds SU ‘23/24


Ziaee, V., Razaei, M., Ahmadinejad, Z., Shaikh, H., Yousefi, R., Yarmohammadi, L. … & Behjati, M. J. (2006). The changes of metabolic profile and weight during Ramadan fasting. Singapore Medical Journal, 47(5), 409-414.