Ramadan is a month period where Muslims refrain from food, drink and unkind thoughts, marking the month when the Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad. Ramadan follows the lunar calendar and happens throughout the new crescent moon cycle. During Ramadan, most people have one meal before dawn (suhoor) and another after the sun has set (iftar). The fast is traditionally broken by dates and water to start. Kaif loves Ramadan for spending time with his family, they get to eat at the same time rather than all having different working schedules, they can sit together and enjoy each other's company.
The most popular question that Kaif receives from his colleague’s during Ramadan is, “not even water?” which is a common question, but no, Kaif does “not even” drink water throughout the day.
Fight the fatigue!
Fasting during the working day can be challenging, there can be low points of energy and concentration. To fight the fatigue, Kaif takes a walk on his lunch break to clear his mind and refocus for the afternoon. The first 5-10 days of Ramadan can be the hardest for breaking snacking habits, such as those office doughnuts that we all we “really shouldn’t” but would normally treat ourselves too anyway.
In a work environment, “even when you’re tired and hangry, somehow you find patience” especially when things don’t always go according to plan. Kaif takes a breath, steps back and finds a solution to the problem, rather than focusing on the problem. A great technique we can all practise more of!
Kaif’s father has always taught him that “fasting isn’t an excuse” so although he may lack energy at some points during the day, he still needs to meet his workplace responsibilities. Kaif has a great employer that allows for flexibility and more complex tasks can be completed after his has finished fasting outside of normal office hours. This highlights the need for flexibility in leadership to ensure you can get the best results from your employees and maintain their levels of motivation.
Kaif appreciate the food and drink he receives at the end of the day and food waste is dramatically reduced across Muslim communities during and after Ramadan for this very reason. It’s an important moral teaching that reminds us how lucky we are to have food on our tables, particularly in times in times of high living costs where others aren’t so lucky. At the end of Ramadan, it is commonplace to bridge the gap between the rich and poor by giving 2.5% of your wealth to charity. Malawi is a community very close to Kaif’s heart as his father’s birthplace, where he gives money to rebuild infrastructures like bridges and wells, especially important following the devastation of cyclone Freddy.
Ramadan reinforces the need for resilience and self-discipline which spills over into all aspects of Kaif’s life. Through to his enhanced performance at the gym, as well as his ability to prioritise and complete projects at work. It is a great example of resilience and finding untapped willpower that we all have within us which can lead us to where we want to be.