While many Thames Valley Police officers are celebrating Ramadan this month, members of TVP’s Positive Action and Engagement Team (PAET) PC Misbah Ali and PC Shaharyar (Shah) Khan speak about how they are managing Ramadan alongside their policing careers.
What does the month of Ramadan mean to you?
Misbah: The Holy month of Ramadan means a lot to me, the month is not just about abstaining from food and water but also very spiritually lifting. Throughout this month I feel a sense of closeness to my faith and it is a time for self-reflection. Ramadan allows Muslims the opportunity to give to the poor through various charities and organisations; Muslims across the globe do this! Ramadan is also a time for family and a time for togetherness, it allows families the time to cook together, socialise together and enjoy much deserved family time after a long day of fasting.
Shah: I take Ramadan as an opportunity to spend more time with my family, especially at Sehri when we close the fast and Iftari when we break it together. Fasting also helps me to reflect away from many distractions and get closer to my faith through praying and giving more to charity whilst thinking about people suffering from hunger across the world. Ultimately, Ramadan increases the feeling of gratitude in me.
How do you manage Ramadan alongside work?
Misbah: Working shifts in an unpredictable role means that having dinner on time can be a challenge. Through Ramadan this can be a lot more challenging in some ways, however for me the best way to work through this is managing my day as best as I can. It is really important to have an open conversation with your Line Manager in advance as this allows them to support you throughout Ramadan, and from a wellbeing and welfare prospective, be able to support a member of their team. I’ve found it is just as important to have a team around you that understands Ramadan and where possible tell them about Ramadan, what it means and how it may impact your day. I certainly can say there are times in the day where I am feeling tired or slightly hangry, so talking about it helps!
Shah: Work keeps me busy meaning I spend less time thinking about food. I am fortunate to have the flexibility around my working hours this year which helps. Last year when I was on response, it was more difficult for me as if I was in middle of an incident I would not always get the opportunity to break the fast on time. However, I had supportive line management and that was helpful.
What are your top tips during the month of Ramadan?
Misbah: My top tips through Ramadan are, firstly, to stay hydrated! When you’re having a tough day, let your team know and as hard it may be sometimes, keep on smiling! Enjoy the month for its purpose and utilise the month to reflect on yourself and religion.
Shah: I agree with Misbah. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before closing fast. Have open and honest conversations with your line manager so they are aware and can support you accordingly. Stay positive (first days are always hard to get into a routine!)
Misbah is also the Chair of Thames Valley Muslim Police Association, one of TVP’s staff support networks, which aims to provide support to Muslim officers and staff in the organisation, promoting the understanding of Islam and a culture of understanding between the police and the Muslim community. In addition, the association shares guidance documents with Local Policing Area (LPA) Commanders for Ramadan to enable supervisors to learn more about Ramadan and the ways in which they can support staff, and also understand the importance of the month for their local Muslim communities.