Skip to content

Rima Sadhia Hussain: What Ramadan means to me

Rima Sadhia Hussain is navigating being a new working mum this Ramadan and has just returned from maternity leave to her General Practice role and also to her teaching role at Guys Hospital.

“I’m loving being back at work and really enjoy the combination of half a day in general practice, from 9am-1pm, as well as a full day of teaching at Guys. I also do occasional evening shift work for the NHS 111 emergency service.”

How do you observe the holy month?

Everyone will have a different experience of observing Ramadan, which is why it is important to speak to people individually about what support they may or may not need.

“Ramadan for me is an opportunity to develop positive Islamic practices, with a view to continuing them for the rest of the year. It is an intense month of prayer, ritual, and reflection. It’s a time to think about others, quiet the mind and improve your mindset.

I struggle to pray 5 times a day but pray as much as I can and read the Quran more. I have the Quran on my phone for easy access and am more focused on reading it through the holy month.

I find it easier to observe good Muslim practice throughout Ramadan because there is collective action.

I look forward to seeing family and friends more regularly, breaking fasts together, especially at the weekends, and enjoying the time of heightened religious practice. It’s a very rewarding time.”

Do you fast?

“I didn’t fast last year because I was pregnant and this year, I may still be breastfeeding through parts of Ramadan so I won’t fast for all of it. However, I’ll do what I can, and I can make up the fasts I miss through the rest of the year when I am able.”

Giving to charity has a strong focus through Ramadan and people can also choose to give larger charitable donations if they are unable to fast.

What challenges do you face during Ramadan?

“The biggest challenge is the sleep deprivation. This is my 2nd Ramadan with a baby and managing sleep is difficult enough with a baby, added to that are the early starts and later evenings.

It can be very difficult at work if you’re expected to do everything and perform at 100% capacity as if you were sleeping well.”

How does your workplace support you during the holy month?

“I have always found workplaces very supportive and have not struggled to ask for a late start. I prefer to work through lunchtimes and then finish a bit earlier and this has been accommodated – no one has questioned this different approach and managers and practice owners have been very good. They just need to mindful of, and open to, different working practices.

My work environment in the general practice is a little different from Guys, in that other Muslims are observing the Holy month. Guys do publish workplace guidance and stress that employees are entitled to flexible working and employers should be able to offer you that. On a Friday they offer a late start in the afternoon; 2 pm instead of 1.30 pm, so that people can attend Friday prayers (the most important). This is the case throughout the year now, not just in Ramadan.

Colleagues are very open about Ramadan. I do feel though that people can often feel bad about eating in front of me. I’ll tend to step outside or go for a walk sometimes, so colleagues don’t feel awkward. I’d personally prefer it if people continued to do the same things they always do and not draw attention to my fasting.

I may go quieter as I conserve my energy and observe more prayer time and reflection so colleagues might notice a change of pace in me through Ramadan. They do not need to worry though. I feel very good about my faith and look forward to the peace and spirituality that Ramadan brings me.”

Many thanks to Rima for sharing her experiences of Ramadan with us.

For more information, there are several articles below.

The Charity for all Dentists proactively supports the financial and emotional needs of dental students, dentists, and their dependents. It has been supporting the dental community for over 140 years.

Other articles of interest

What is Ramadan?

National NHS Muslim Network – Ramadan and Eid Guidance

Wellbeing Support for the Dental Team

Six self-care tips for working through Ramadan

4 ways to support your colleagues observing Ramadan

A complete guide to Ramadan in 2024

Reflecting on Ramadan, faith, and workplace support for doctors

Supporting Muslims at work during Ramadan

Ramadan factsheet

National Inclusion Week

Muslim Doctors and Dentists Association UK

browse Other Posts

Dr Austin Banner


  • Trustee since 2010
  • Dental speciality – Retired consultant Orthodontist
  • County – Southern Counties
  • I am a Past President of the BDA Southern Counties Branch with extensive experience in committee, management, teaching, and training.

Dr Peter Crooks


  • Trustee since 2020
  • Dental Speciality – General Dental Practitioner
  • County – Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • I am the representative of the Principal Executive Committee of the BDA on the BDA Benevolent Fund Board. I hope to continue and foster the close working relationship between the Charity and the BDA, of whose members are also members of the charity. I’m also a Director and Secretary of a charitable company – CHEERS Youth Centre

Dr Molly Deykin


  • Trustee since 2020
  • Dental speciality – General Dental Practitioner
  • County – London
  • I have been involved in student support groups and I was elected British Dental Student Association President. I worked with the Sands Cox Charity when I was the Dental School Society Vice-President. After graduating I was the Foundation Dentist Representative on the BDA Young Dentists Committee.

Dr Allan Franklin


  • Trustee since 2003
  • Dental speciality – General Dental Practitioner for 35 years
  • County – Oldham/ Rochdale
  • I am the Chairman of BDA Oldham & Rochdale Section (and previous Secretary). Chairman for the E.Lancs & E Cheshire Branch of BDA in charge of section regeneration. Previous Chairman of British Society for Dental Hypnosis (as it was then) and involved in Local Dental Committees.

Dr Alex Gormley


  • Trustee since 2020
  • Dental Speciality – Academic Clinical Fellow at the University of Bristol
  • County – Bristol
  • I have worked in primary dental care and a maxillofacial unit since graduation. I am continuing my dental core training alongside academic training at the University of Bristol. I also serve as the Early Career Representative as an invited board member at the FDS at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Dr Chris Hayward


  • Trustee since 2013
  • Dental speciality – Associate Specialist in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Lead Clinician Dental Emergency Department Newcastle Dental Hospital, Honorary  Clinical Lecturer Newcastle Dental School
  • County – Newcastle/ Northern Counties
  • I have been active in the BDA at Section, Branch, and National Levels. I was a member of the Rep Board/Body; a former member of the BDA PEC; a Director of International Affairs; and the previous BDA Board.

Dr Philip Henderson


  • Trustee since 2006
  • Dental Speciality-Principal Practice Owner and in General Dental Service for 37 years.
  • County – Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • I have been a Church Elder for 34 years with pastoral care responsibility Local Dental Adviser for Dental Protection including attending GDC Hearings and Probity work in NHS Current member “Probing Dental Stress” group in N.I.
  • Past: LDC Chair, N.I.DPC Chair, Northern Ireland Branch BDA President, Director of the BDA’s PEC for two terms

Dr Ros Keeton


  • Trustee since 2008
  • Dental Specialty – Leadership and management of Dental Services
  • County – Shropshire
  • I am an experienced NHS Chief Executive and health care leader who combines a dental background with substantial leadership experience. I am also a Chairman of a specialist hospice and EOL charity Compton Care. I am a passionate and committed advocate for dentists in distress.

Dr Stuart Robson


  • Trustee since 2006
  • Dental speciality – A General Dental Practitioner
  • County– North Yorkshire
  • Former President of BDA 1999- 2000, previous Vice-Chairman of BDA Council and also Dental Services Committee. On behalf of North Yorkshire LDC, was organiser and lead of the North Yorkshire PASS (Practitioner Advice and Support Scheme) preventing some dentist with problems having dire financial and professional difficulties.

Dr Bill Creedon


  • Trustee since 2014
  • Dental speciality – GDP
  • County – Hampshire
  • I have been in general practice for over 20 years as a practice owner in Southampton. The last four years I have been also working at Kings College, London. I am Chair of the BDA’s Wessex branch and Vice Chairman of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight LDC.