Marking Ramadan with motorsport Clubs

Saturday 09 March 2024

Sunday 10 March marks the first day of Ramadan, considered to be one of the most spiritual times on the Islamic calendar. It is a time where the Muslim community increases its spirituality and social cohesion through devotional acts such as prayer, giving to charity and spending more time with family and loved ones.  

Motorsport UK has issued guidance for Clubs and the racing community on how to be mindful of the Muslim community during fasting and how to make subtle changes to show consideration of this special time. 

“Ramadan is a very social time, with lots of interaction with other Muslim community members, but also it is a time for us to reflect on ourselves, our religion and our relationship with the wider world,” comments Marium Tahir, a member of the Motorsport UK Racial Diversity Expert Committee. 

Muslims who observe Ramadan will fast during daylight hours, meaning that they don’t eat or drink anything during the fast. “At this point in the year, we may be fasting from sunrise – which is generally around 6.30am – until sunset, which will be around 6pm,” explains Marium. “We will get up early to break the fast and then not eat or drink again until sunset. The first few days are the hardest as you adapt, and fatigue and headaches can be a problem, but as you get further into the month it becomes more and more manageable.” 

To adapt, if Clubs do have any social activities, it may be better for these to take place earlier in the day when Muslim members have more energy, or to adjust the timetable to start earlier. “Many workplaces adapt their schedule very subtly,” continues Marium. “As we are not taking a lunch break I will often start and finish earlier, which allows me the time to prepare for breaking the fast, or to go to the Mosque to pray. Breaking the fast at the end of each day with family or friends is a very lovely time to get together socially – we really enjoy that sense of unity in going through this together.” 

However, if a Muslim co-worker is not fasting it may not be appropriate to ask the reasons, which can be intensely personal. “There are many reasons why people do not fast – some are physical, such as pregnancy, or illness-related, and the person in question may not want to divulge that level of information. So it may be better to show sensitivity and not pry too much into circumstances, unless they are freely given.” 

Just very small adaptations can however have a large impact on feeling understood and valued as a person within a community or workplace.  

Identifying a space for prayer may also be useful – this does not need to be large but ideally should be a quiet, private space, as Marium explains. “Prayers have to be observed at certain times in the day, but we do not need long to do so. Ideally a quiet space so we can concentrate and pray and then return to work after. It really is no longer than a quick break, but it is good to know you can observe the prayers in an appropriate way with minimal disruption to you or anyone else. Some people may think you can’t follow projects due to fasting and praying, but really it’s not a big problem; it’s just these small adaptations that are easy to make over the course of the day.” 

Most importantly however is the understanding that Ramadan is a special time for the Muslim community and clubs should endeavour to support their Muslim members and families to create a more inclusive environment. 

“As a Muslim living in the West sometimes you can feel very conscious of asking for understanding. In all honesty not much changes, but how you feel is hugely improved by knowing that others see and understand this period and why it is important. It makes everyone feel much more valued and seen as a person, and that can only ever be positive,” Marium concludes. 

To read the full Club resource on how to be mindful during Ramadan, click here.