Beginning this past Monday, Muslims across the globe observed the first day of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting and prayer. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating and drinking anything, even water, while the sun is up. The purpose of Ramadan is to bring Muslims closer to their religion, practice self-discipline, and strengthen their gratitude for life. This year, many students within the district laid down their prayer mats and welcomed the next 30 days of fasting.
“I love observing Ramadan,” sophomore Hiba Awais said. “My family and I each have two big meals: one before sunrise and one right after sunset.”
For many Muslims, those large meals respectively called suhoor and iftar in Arabic, are one of the best parts of Ramadan. It brings families and friends together to enjoy their favorite foods before the next fast.
“My favorite part of the day is spending time with them while eating my favorite foods,” Awais said.
Ramadan is not just about gathering around the dinner table to enjoy food. It is also a month for Muslims to reflect on their actions and strive to perform good deeds. During this month, Muslims may try to create better habits, like reading the Quran more or donating to charity. While these good deeds may look different to every Muslim, the purpose behind them is the same: growth.
“My favorite part of Ramadan is being able to forget about worldly things and focus on my religion,” senior Imama Arslan said. “I can really work to become a better person.”
With fasting comes challenges, especially for students who are going to school in person every day. Hunger and thirst can make completing schoolwork difficult, and lunchtime in the cafeteria can be tempting. However, most Muslim students believe their teachers are flexible and try to accommodate their needs during the holy month.
“Fasting at school is not terrible from my experience,” senior Aimun Anwer said. “One of the biggest challenges is lunch. During lunch, you’re surrounded by people who are all eating, which can be enticing. However, the school gives the option to sit in the library, which helps ease any temptations.”
Besides lunch, many students have to sit out from PE, since medical experts advise not to work out while dehydrated.
“Thankfully, a lot of PE teachers have been lenient to us students who are fasting, giving us more breaks, less strenuous exercise, and even keeping us out of demanding activities like pacers,” Anwer said.
While Ramadan may pose certain struggles, for Muslims, the essence of Ramadan is to overcome those struggles and strengthen their connection to Islam. It is a demanding month, both physically and mentally, but it is also a month of celebrating family, togetherness, and faith.
“Ask any Muslim, and they will probably tell you they love Ramadan,” Awais said. “Yeah, fasting can be hard, but it is so rewarding as well. Sitting down with your family for iftar, knowing that you successfully completed another fast, there is no better feeling.”