NAIEL IQBAL’S co-workers couldn’t figure him out.
He’d just started at a Midtown Manhattan hedge fund — the kind of elite enclave where overachievers in button-downs go to make a few hundred grand before heading off to Harvard Business School. But Mr. Iqbal, 27, a graduate of the Wharton School, wasn’t acting like a typical finance guy. He didn’t introduce himself around the office. Nor did he grab lunch with the other traders.
In fact, he didn’t eat at all. Or drink. Not coffee, not soda, not even a sip of water from a Nalgene bottle on his desk. All day, he just sat there, staring into his Bloomberg terminal. Was he sick? Nervous? A modern Bartleby?
None of the above: It was Ramadan, and Mr. Iqbal, a Muslim, was exhausted from fasting daily till sundown.
“I’m actually a huge foodie,” he recalls with a laugh. “When Ramadan ended, I was, like: ‘Guys, let’s go to this restaurant! Let’s go to that one!’ Nobody had seen that side of me.” [Read more…]