Ramadan Kareem, a whole month of not eating or drinking from dawn to dusk and one of Islam’s holiest months, is coming to Concordia College on March 22nd.
Muslims all over the world avoid drinking water, eating, arguing, getting angry, losing patience, and many other moral and behavioral condemnations in the Quran.
Sahra Mohamed, vice president of the Muslim Student Association and a Cobber in STEM, expresses the importance of this month to her:
“Some people might see it [Ramadan] as a religious requirement but for some of us, it’s a tradition, something that we have grown up with,” she said. “This is a time for friendships because before the month of Ramadan begins, the religion [texts] advises people to solve issues with others and apologize. People come into the mosque and make amends. It’s a matter of allowing people to be at their best and purest,” Mohamed said.
Zenab Ariye, president of MSA agreed, “It’s a whole month where you can pray a lot, ask for forgiveness. We go to late night prayers, and we pray half of the night until three or four.”
To accommodate the Muslim students on campus and make them feel more comfortable, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) along with Dr. Michael Chan—the executive director for faith and learning—and the Anderson Commons have taken many preparations for the arrival of this holy month.
“For the last couple of years things have been changing. A lot more Muslim students have been coming to Concordia. Therefore, students started voicing their needs such as the Dining Service open hours. I think the heavy work started last year with the Center for Student Success (CSS),” Mohamed said.
Some of these changes look like: allowing students to take food from the D.S with Green-to-Go containers, providing more halal food options, providing nightly iftar (breaking of the fast) spaces and prayer spots.
Dr. Chan voiced the importance of bigger boxes and allowing Muslim students to take food. “Boxes matter because students can go into Anderson, fill it up with food that they can use to break fast later,” he said.
Ariye agreed, “Yes you can break your fast and also save later for suhoor (eating before the break of dawn to stay less hungry during the day).
Among these preparations, the college has offered a Ramadan Hospitality Program. On Wednesdays throughout Ramadan, the college will be offering a limited set of hospitality vouchers that will allow Muslim students and their guests to eat in Anderson Commons without cost.
Along with a community-wide preparation, Muslims are encouraged to prepare for this month on an individual level too.
Mohamed described what this has looked like for her, “I wrote myself a letter before Ramadan starts and by the end, I will read it and ask if I was able to achieve those goals. Some of those goals can be as easy as giving away a dollar every day or making sure I make at least one person smile.”
Ariye and Mohamed suggest nonreligious students go outside ot their comfort zone and imagine what it would be like to “get up in the middle of class to pray.” By using empathy to understand these experiences, non-religious students can take part in honoring the practices of Ramadan.
Mohamed added, “Being mindful of prayer times. All my professors have been awesome so far, but I have heard some other students who feel like they are burdening their professors.”
The MSA will be providing an information session with the tables in the centrum on Thursday for events and activities, and further information can also be found on MSA’s Instagram page, @msa.cord.