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Our office has a tradition of doing a going-away lunch for colleagues moving onto new jobs or retiring.

One of my teammates has accepted an offer and has announced his resignation, but he observes Ramadan at this time of year, and here in North Texas, sunset is quite late in the day, making a late lunch infeasible.

What could be a nice non-food way to send him off?

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    Would you mind clarifying what (if at all) is the problem with an early dinner instead of a lunch? Ramadan only lasts until sunset. – Benjamin Gruenbaum May 18 '18 at 15:51
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    The sun won't set until about 20:25 this time of year in Texas @BenjaminGruenbaum, so it would be a rather late dinner. – Martin Tournoij May 18 '18 at 15:54
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    @Carpetsmoker thanks, that clarifies things. David, would you mind editing that information into your question? I find it relevant to the question and answers. – Benjamin Gruenbaum May 18 '18 at 15:56
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It is hardly a surprise that you want to do something for his going-away. So I would ask him what he wants. You could suggest a small meeting to say goodbye followed up with a lunch after Ramadan is over if he will be close enough to attend one.

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    When I had a Muslim coworker a few years ago he didn't mind these sort of shared lunches during Ramadan. He accepted that this was the cost of his faith, and had no problems with it. – Martin Tournoij May 18 '18 at 14:39
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    Agree. If for no other reason that to avoid any potential pitfalls in handling this situation, just tell him what the tradition is and flat-out ask him what his preferences are. – Jim Horn May 18 '18 at 14:53
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I am a Muslim who practices fasting in Ramadan. Me and my Muslim friends who are professionals we always talk about how lovely it is when we invite people/colleagues on Iftar especially if they were people who are not familiar with Ramadan; so that gives us chances to talk about it, its reasons and tradition.

Iftar is when sun sets and we break our fast -> eat dinner. It is very unlikely to practice religious activities on Iftar time, because Iftar is for EATING, when Muslims had all day and still have all night for religious activities if a Muslim wanted to. And It is highly likely to invite friends and family into Iftar. You would realize that Ramadan is all about getting together. Also, you would realize that 5 to 15 days (out of the 30) Muslims will manage to have Iftar somewhere outside: Restaurants reservations, friends' invitations, family invitations.. etc, and other 5 to 10 days Muslims will invite friends and family for iftar.

I would ask if colleagues are interested to join an Iftar Reservation with him (it is always at night). If they are interested, reserve an Iftar for everyone and invite him.

If none of the team can/want to join his night iftar, then reserve a Ramadan Iftar at his favorite restaurant and give it to him (gift card?) and do a small get-together on lunch break (in that same day) for the team to say good bye to him.

I believe he would love it if you guys joined him for an iftar, but this is just my opinion.

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    I like the idea of a gift card, but I wouldn't suggest inviting yourselves to an iftar dinner without asking him if it's okay first. I'm not super familiar with the tradition, but it may a family or religious time for him, so I wouldn't make the assumption you would be invited. As far as deciding on dinner or a lunch get together, I would just ask him what he prefers. – David K May 18 '18 at 14:32
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    @DavidK I am very familiar with ramadan, and a muslim will love to get together with people on iftar. It is what it is all about, get together with people/family and enjoy food together. – Sandra K May 18 '18 at 14:41
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    @SandraK I'd add something detailing your level of expertise/familiarity to the answer. SE is all about expert answers, after all. – T.J.L. May 18 '18 at 19:58
  • @T.J.L.Sure. Done :) – Sandra K May 18 '18 at 20:49
  • Make sure there's time in the schedule for him to offer his sunset prayers. – Dawood says reinstate Monica May 19 '18 at 10:26
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Kind of you to be this considerate of your colleague. However, why go to the trouble of posting on a site when it would be so simple to just ask him. Moslems are normal people, so just ask him what he prefers - the traditional going away lunch or some other form of acknowledgement. He may have some suggestions himself and you could spare yourself the angst of trying to guess!

  • Agreed! And frankly, even if the departing colleague did not observe Ramadan it's still a good approach to ask what they would prefer! Anyone could potentially prefer not to have a lunch farewell, for any number of other reasons. – Carson63000 May 23 '18 at 7:08

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