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Beginning of Ramadan starts traditions and celebrations for students

With+Ramadan+beginning%2C+students+across+campus+are+making+preparations.+The+celebration+will+end+with+Eid+al-Fitr+at+Sunset+on+April+21.
provided by Sarah Sayyid
With Ramadan beginning, students across campus are making preparations. The celebration will end with Eid al-Fitr at Sunset on April 21.

All across campus, many Muslim students are preparing to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, beginning either Wednesday or Thursday night, depending on the moon, and ending in late April on Eid al-Fitr. The Islamic religious month is a time for Muslims worldwide to honor the revelation of the first verses of the Qur’an and practice acts and customs of fasting, spiritual reflection, and worship.  

“Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar [and] is the month that Muslims spend fasting, praying, and strengthening their connection to their faith,” senior Ifrah Zainab said. “For a lot of people, it’s almost like how New Year’s resolutions work in which we are reminded of the things our religion prioritizes and when we work on habits, like prayer, goodwill, and charity, that we want to do better even after Ramadan is over.”

It helps me see what I need to prioritize in life and how thankful I am for all the blessings I have,

— senior Ifrah Zainab

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world take time away from nourishment and nutriment throughout each day and prepare their meals before sunrise and after sunset when their moment of fasting is broken.

“Every day for the entirety of this month as well as the next 29 or 30 days, we fast from sunrise to sunset,” senior Sarah Sayyid said. “Our traditions lie in the rituals of fasting, where we wake for Suhoor to eat, pray our Fajr prayer, and begin our fast, [but] we do break our fast when the sun sets at Maghrib prayer, and we eat at this time for Iftar.”

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The month of Ramadan is not only focused on abstaining from food and water but also on the prayers said and performed, specifically the special readings done in the evening known as Taraweeh. 

“A very important part of Ramadan is to realign ourselves spiritually, which generally includes an increase in prayers, specifically night prayers. A night prayer unique to Ramadan is one called Taraweeh,” senior Manal Nasir said. “Although the intention of this prayer is the same as any other prayer, to gain a closeness to God, a tradition has become to recite the entirety of the Qur’an within the prayers throughout the month. Once the whole Quran has been recited little by little each day, we typically commemorate this accomplishment as a community as we also have special prayers and supplications said at this conclusion.”

However, Ramadan is more than fasting and praying as the month helps to represent a time in which Muslims can reconnect and grow spiritually and stray away from their faults and misdeeds. 

“To me, Ramadan symbolizes the month of spiritual reset and overall getting closer to our religion, especially as I use Ramadan as a way to reconnect with my religion,” Nasir said. “Throughout the year we are occupied with so much in our lives, [but] this month allows us to focus on our faith without many worldly distractions. I am [also] able to rethink what is important in my life and cut out [any] bad habits that I may have.”

To me, Ramadan symbolizes the month of spiritual reset and overall getting closer to our religion, especially as I use Ramadan as a way to reconnect with my religion,

— senior Manal Nasir

For Zainab, Ramadan is also a time that is representative of gaining new perspectives that are often overlooked and having more of an appreciation for the gifts and opportunities that individuals take for granted. 

“It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday happenings of life, but all that changes in Ramadan,” Zainab said. “It’s hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it yourself, but fasting all day and praying Taraweeh every night puts a pause on things and genuinely changes your perspective on what it’s all for. It helps me see what I need to prioritize in life and how thankful I am for all the blessings I have.”

Similarly, Sayyid finds the month to be symbolic of acknowledging and finding appreciation for the privileges one has as well as putting oneself into another’s shoes. 

“To me, Ramadan is about empathy and resisting temptations,” Sayyid said. “The practice of fasting every day for a month serves as a reality check to the privilege I and many other Muslims have with access to food and water. The hunger and thirst we experience not only teaches us discipline but also puts us in the shoes of the less fortunate as we are able to internalize at least a glimpse of what many suffer with.”

Even though a month full of devout devotion and time without food and beverages can be tiresome and difficult, the fulfillment, gifts, and celebrations that are received and held help Muslims to find Ramadan truly worthwhile and rewarding to the very end. 

“The entirety of Ramadan is not necessarily a celebration, but we definitely do hold it extremely dear to our hearts and we officially celebrate after the 30 days of our fasting with a holiday called Eid,” Nasir said. “Eid itself is initially celebrated with a prayer only done on Eid day and it is followed up with celebrations in which friends and family come together and spend time together as they celebrate the success and accomplishments of Ramadan.”

This story was originally published on Wingspan on March 21, 2023.