If you are new to the region, you need know about the following rules:
- Do not eat or drink in public during fasting hours.
- Meetings are fine, but no work lunches. Those fasting will be open to meeting colleagues outside office for work purposes. They will even be courteous enough to entertain you if you accidentally invite them for a work lunch, though they may not eat anything. Therefore, avoid work lunches as much as possible. Schedule meetings early in the morning, or a couple of hours before iftar.
- Iftar is a special meal. It’s the meal you have after ending the fast for that particular day. So, if you are a non-Muslim who is invited by a Muslim friend for iftar, you should not refuse, and you should certainly not say you won’t eat because you are not fasting.
- Please be a little flexible. If you have a friend or a colleague who is fasting, please understand if you see they are low on energy. Fasting for a whole day is not easy. Even if you eat and hydrate yourself at night and early morning, the body will soon run out of energy during day.
- Don’t tell your Muslim friends you want to fast to lose weight. Ramadan is not about fasting to lose weight. It’s about teaching yourself discipline. It’s about abstinence, about keeping yourself pure. It’s something you should follow everyday of year. In fact, most people who fast during Ramadan end up gaining weight. This is because of irregular eating patterns and heavy meals at iftar. There’s nothing wrong with fasting as a non-Muslim.