The end of the semester means stressful finals, advising, and signing up for next semester classes. This year, the end of the semester also means Ramadan for Muslim students.
The Islamic month of Ramadan is 30 days and is expected to end June 4. Eid Al Fitr, “festival of breaking the fast” is right after, a day of celebration following the holy month.
Ramadan marks the month when Allah revealed the Koran to the Prophet Muhammad and begins on varied dates from year to year, depending on the Islamic lunar calendar.
Acila Alrowhani, a psychology student, explains what Ramadan means to her and other Muslims. “Ramadan is a month where I put extra effort into abstaining from bad things, a time to get closer to God and ask for forgiveness.”
“It’s the time for everyone to strengthen their inner spirituality and reflect on their own lives. Islam is a religion of inner striving and instilling virtue and goodness within ourselves.”
Ramadan is not only a month to strengthen one’s character but is also the time of bringing the community together. Alrowhani notes, “All Muslims experience Ramadan at the same time, it brings together people from all around the world and even brings the family closer. Everyone in the community is fasting and praying, it’s a shared experience.”
“Because of this we feel for the people in need and have empathy for the homeless and people in other countries who don’t have food to break their fast with at the end of the day like us,” Alrowhani states. “As Muslims we are taught to always be thankful no matter the circumstance, Barakat, which is being thankful for what a person has.”
Besides having an instinctual feeling of thankfulness, Muslims are also obligated to donate 2.5% of their collected wealth to the homeless and charity, also known as zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam; fasting being one as well.
Tasneem Talabah, a student in bilingual childhood education, shares the most significant aspect of Ramadan. “Fasting for a whole month teaches us to be grateful for what we have,” says Talabah.
With the days getting longer and warmer along with the heat from finals, fasting can easily get too much but for Talabah the importance of fasting keeps her going. “Fasting has surprisingly not been as bad as I thought, I barely get hungry. I do get a little tired but it’s something I can deal with.”
Despite exams, Muslims students are committed to fasting until sunset. Saying goodbye to the routine morning coffee for a whole month can be pretty tough but the significance of the Islamic month keeps students going.