For PhD student Muhammad Al Azhar, the month of Ramadan fasting means a working day that starts at 7am, and no interruptions from coffee breaks
University of Copenhagen oceanography researcher Muhammad Al Azhar from Jakarta, Indonesia, is a practising Muslim. Like millions of others he started the Ramadan month of fasting on 11 August.
During the period of fasting he will not eat or drink anything at all from dawn to dusk.
This lack of food and drink affects Muhammad’s working day, although the effects are not too dramatic, he says.
»I have no food or water from sunrise to sunset during the fast, but of course I still have to go to work. This means that I can get quite exhausted by the end of the afternoon,« he explains.
But in spite of this, the period of fasting also increases his productivity, he says. He takes fewer, and shorter breaks.
»During Ramadan I don’t take lunch or coffee breaks like I usually do. I just walk around and go outside for air. This means my work day is more concentrated.«
Muhammad has also changed his work schedule to make the most of the early part of the day, when he has most energy.
»I have slightly changed the times that I am at work. I usually start at 9, but during the fast, I start at 7 or 8 in the morning and get home at around 4 or 5 in the afternoon,« he says.
This year, Ramadan ends on around 9 September (when the new moon is sighted). The end of the fast is celebrated with the holiday of Eid ul-Fitr. Eid ul-Fitr means the Festival of Breaking the Fast and a special celebration is made, with feasting and visiting relatives.