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Shafaq Hussain: What Ramadan means to me

Shafaq Hussain is a highly experienced dentist of 20 years who is passionate about making a difference and improving the lives of others.

She is also our Co-Chair and advocates for Parkinson’s UK, as well as volunteering for Confidental and City of Sanctuary UK.

Shafaq shares her experiences of being supported in her workplace when observing the Holy month of Ramadan.

How do you observe the Holy Month?

“Ramadan is a mentally fulfilling period of time for me, filled with prayer and self-reflection. It is a time of nurturing and healing and becoming closer to our Creator”.

There is a fasting of the soul and spirit and a commitment to avoiding overindulgence. An abstention from gratuity.

It is a time when you focus on the right of your neighbour over you and help others through charity work. Time and money are given to charity through this time. I pray more through Ramadan and there is a strong sense of serving the community in the Holy month.

Our Mosque will feed the homeless through Ramadan and hold multi-faith events during Iftar. It’s lovely to see different faiths sharing experiences together.”

Do you fast?

“I have fasted through Ramadan for many years.”

Shafaq was diagnosed early in life with Parkinson’s and has made the difficult decision, this year, not to fast through Ramadan.

“Not everyone will fast through the Holy month. When I was first diagnosed and started medication, the medication improved my fatigue vastly – this actually made it easier to fast. Now that symptoms have progressed, and medication increased I can’t fast – I struggle with not fasting but remind myself that those with health conditions do not have to fast and that there is a fasting of the mind & spirit too.”

What challenges do you face during Ramadan?

“There is much more activity during the Holy Month. With a focus on community events and also families gathering to break fast together, the social calendar can get very busy!

The last 10 nights are regarded as holier nights and are particularly important. People may pray and gather for longer hours into the night. Additional annual leave may be required through this time.”

How does your workplace support you during the Holy month?

“In my experience, business owners haven’t minded, and have respected the different needs of people observing Ramadan.

Some people may like to start work later to allow them to rest after Suhoor (the meal consumed before sunrise & beginning the fast), while others might like to leave early or promptly at the end of the working day to break their fast at Iftar.

I remember at one of my dental practices, the dental nurses would offer me a cup of tea or a glass of water when it was time to break my fast. It was a lovely supportive gesture. They were always aware of the sunset times and knew when my fast was coming to an end.

Colleagues have been understanding of prayer times and I’ve been able to make sure there is a quiet space in my practice where I won’t be disturbed and I’m able to pray.

We have been able to schedule patient appointments with good notice and outside of these times.”

Many thanks to Shafaq 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

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Dr Austin Banner


  • Trustee since 2010
  • Dental speciality – Retired consultant Orthodontist
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Dr Peter Crooks


  • Trustee since 2020
  • Dental Speciality – General Dental Practitioner
  • County – Antrim, Northern Ireland
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Dr Molly Deykin


  • Trustee since 2020
  • Dental speciality – General Dental Practitioner
  • County – London
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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
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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
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Dr Philip Henderson


  • Trustee since 2006
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Dr Ros Keeton


  • Trustee since 2008
  • Dental Specialty – Leadership and management of Dental Services
  • County – Shropshire
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Dr Stuart Robson


  • Trustee since 2006
  • Dental speciality – A General Dental Practitioner
  • County– North Yorkshire
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Dr Bill Creedon


  • Trustee since 2014
  • Dental speciality – GDP
  • County – Hampshire
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