He is Waterloo: Zan Haq

He is Waterloo: Zan Haq

20/03/2024

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Community

What’s up Waterloo? 

My name is Zan and I am the Marketing and Projects Officer for our bustling Business Improvement District. 

My work spans many different areas, from predicting what spend data might look like on the high street to supporting our BID members through promotions and marketing efforts so that their business can flourish. The variety is always interesting and full of pleasant surprises! 

It’s been such a blast working with some businesses so far, seeing what each business has to offer and doing my best to support the specific needs and requirements for each of you. I hope in the coming months I can engage with more BID members as there’s still so much to explore. Since I started here in September, I am always delighted to feel a sense of gratitude when speaking to any familiar face. I reckon a lot of the time my engagement is so positive because I’m desperate to try the next tasty offering in our area for lunch. As someone who considers himself a foodie, I know I’m spoilt for choice with our vibrant makeup of so many great and unique options.

This month has however put a grinding halt on the lunchtime highlights due to the holy month of Ramadan (I promise I am not going to ghost you forever). As a Muslim, this time is very important to me and it takes precedence above all else. We all have what I would like to so eloquently call ‘stuff’ going on in our lives. Whether that’s catching up with socials, or dealing with work commitments as Londoners we tend to get quite caught up in it all and don’t take a step back to breathe and reset. Ramadan is a way to reconnect with Allah or God, where I commit to something greater than myself to reevaluate and self-improve.

This holy month involves fasting from sunrise to sunset every day, which means I have to finish my breakfast at 4.25 am with no food or drink consumed until 6.15 pm. Ramadan and fasting are one of the 5 fundamental pillars of Islam, and it marks the revelation of our holy scripture, the Quran. The act of fasting is very similar to Lent in Christianity and Yom Kippur in Judaism in the sense that it is a religious activity connected to prayer, spirituality and humility. Our religion pays respect to Abraham and Jesus so fasting across all faiths shows us it’s vital. This act teaches us to be appreciative of the blessings we have. Every Ramadan I quickly find myself being grateful for the little things, whether that’s a glass of water or a couple of fresh strawberries. It makes you appreciate what you have in life compared to those living in poverty. Most of us find that eating less food demonstrates how we typically don’t need to overconsume at all. 

This period isn’t just about abstaining from food and drink, it’s also about being the best version of yourself you can. This can include avoiding any forms of transgression at all costs, being careful with what we say to one another and increasing charitable and good deeds to be a better and kinder person overall. This month I plan to go to the mosque more often to pray and drive myself towards a positive force for good. I also would strive to offer a helping hand as much as possible whether that’s offering a hand to someone in the street or donating to those in need. I tend to feel sorrow for the less fortunate and this is more apparent while fasting. The end of the month will be marked by celebrations on Eid day.

Ramadan can be quite a significant change for us as well for so many reasons. Since we are putting in the effort to dedicate ourselves to God, you might find for example that we distance ourselves from an after-work social due to the presence of alcohol, we might not participate in certain conversations which may be slightly negative, we may be less energetic due to a lack of food and changes to our sleeping schedule.

 I am extremely grateful and lucky to be part of a caring and supportive team here at WeAreWaterloo alongside my manager Harrie. The team has kindly offered me flexible ways of working during this holy month so that I can still perform my duties to the best of my ability and not compromise on my religious beliefs. Whether that’s the ability to start work earlier than normal or leverage an extra work-from-home day where needed, the support on offer here means that I can maintain the same level of productivity without compromising my faith and my pastoral care. 

I would kindly suggest that if you, as a BID member or as an individual, have an employee, family member or friend fasting this Ramadan please consider what changes they might be experiencing and how you may be able to offer your support.

Ramadan Mubarak, may you have a blessed month!

 

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