Ramadan

A look into the unique Islamic holiday

Aya Kasim, Editor-in-Chief

What is Ramadan? 

One of the biggest events of the year for Muslims around the world is Ramadan. Beginning in the ninth month of the lunar Islamic calendar, Ramadan is a month of fasting in which Muslims do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset each day.*  

Muslims also are encouraged to abstain from consuming tobacco products, engaging in sexual relations, and any sinful behavior such as cursing. This is because it is believed that good and bad deeds count more during Ramadan and the month is meant to serve as a time of reflection, prayer, cleanse, and charity. Ultimately, fasting teaches self-control and leads to more empathy for those who are less fortunate.  

After the month of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr–a day of family, friends, and food. The practice of Eid varies from country to country, but most Muslims dress up, cook delicious meals, give gifts to children and those in need, gather with loved ones, and forgive/seek forgiveness. 

*Muslims are excused from fasting if they have an illness that requires them to eat, if they are elderly, traveling, breastfeeding, or menstruating. If their condition is temporary, they are expected to make up the days of fasting they missed at another time. 

 

A Day in the Life of Fasting: junior Aya Kasim 

This Ramadan, I have woken up at 5:30 am each day to eat–either a heavy breakfast or a light one depending on my appetite–and go back to sleep. I generally wake up around 10 am and help my little sister with her assignments. Sometimes she offers me food or water and I have to explain to her that I am fasting to which she replies, “I’m fascinating too.” 

After my little sister finishes her assignments, around 12 pm, I begin mine. Now, here is my dilemma. I always want to finish so much and more in one day but by 4 pm, my brain can no longer function.  Many days, I have felt bad for being unproductive, but I try my best to remember to be kinder to myself while fasting and not expect as much.

By 5 pm, I am usually in bed napping (or scrolling through food TikToks, torturing myself) until it is time to eat. One thing that is hard about practicing Ramadan in the Spring is that sunset is pushed back a few minutes each day, meaning we have to wait a bit longer each day to break our fast. At the beginning of Ramadan, it was dark by 8 pm, but now sunset is at 8:40 pm. 

After eating dinner, I jump back on assignments with a clearer mind and some newfound energy. Sometimes I have to work all the way to 11:59 pm to turn in everything, but I have not had a late assignment all Ramadan, so yay. 

Then, I go to sleep and do it all again the next day. 

 

A Day in the Life of Fasting: freshman Salma Samhan 

A typical day of Ramadan for me is waking up for suhoor which is before fajr (an hour before sunrise). Muslims such as myself fast from fajr to sundown. 

After I’ve eaten for iftar, I pray the fajr prayer and then go back to sleep. I let myself sleep as much as I want during ramadan so I don’t spend most of the day awake and hungry. I usually wake up around noon then I do as much homework as my tired body can. I just love to procrastinate, mostly because I know it works. 

I wait until sundown to eat and I break my fast with a cup of water and a few dates. I have a typical dinner then I really begin to do my homework. By then, it’s midnight. I eat some more, go to sleep, and repeat again. 

For me, Ramadan is a month to get closer to God and test my patience. I started fasting half days in second grade and I officially graduated to full days in 4th grade. Before you ask, no that’s not child cruelty, I chose to participate. 

A few things I want non-Muslims to remember about this holy month we celebrate is yes, not even water, please stop asking. Second, don’t feel bad eating in front of us. Most have been fasting for years and got used to being around food. In fact, that’s part of Ramadan–a test for our perseverance and dedication to the fast. 

Lastly, my favorite part of Ramadan is celebrating Eid at the end. Specifically the money receiving part, but I guess hanging out with family is fun too.

 

Final Remarks

With the end of Ramadan on May 12 approaching fast, I hope this article helped you better understand our unique tradition. If you run into a Muslim during Ramadan, wish them a “Ramadan Mubarak” (blessed Ramadan) or “Eid mubarak” (blessed feast) on May 12.