At sunset yesterday, 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide broke from a day’s worth of fasting. Yesterday marked the second day of Islam’s holiest month, Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims forego food, drink and other sensual pleasures.

“Abstaining from food is a way for Muslims to feel for the needy – those who are not as fortunate,” said LSA senior Lena Masri, vice president of the Muslim Students Association.

While Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk, abstention from sensual and material pleasures is practiced throughout the month of Ramadan.

“On one hand, you control your appetite, and on the other, you control your sexual urges and be careful of what you listen to and what you say,” Business School junior Nauman Syed said. “When you’re fasting, it’s a reminder of what you should and shouldn’t be doing.”

Ramadan is also a time of intense spirituality, and students said fasting fosters connections of spirituality and community.

“We abstain from anything that might distract us from our spirituality,” Masri said. “Fasting brings people together. It reminds Muslims who they are and why they are here.”

Followers of Islam believe that the first revelation of Quran was revealed during the month of Ramadan.

“Ramadan is the holiest month,” Syed said. “This is the best chance of the year to focus and build on your faith. It is an opportunity to do good deeds and avoid bad ones.”

“It’s a lot about patience and self restraint on all levels,” LSA senior Halim Naeem said. “You have to put God before your own desires.”

Because Ramadan is one of Islam’s five pillars, all Muslims are required to observe it, which fosters a sense of unity. Muslims break fast, attend special prayer and celebrate the end of Ramadan as a community.

“When the sun sets, it is a blessing to eat together and feed each other,” Naeem said. “This is when we experience a lot of camaraderie, brotherhood and companionship.”

There is an additional special prayer after the usual nighttime prayer. Each night of Ramadan this year, hundreds of Muslims will gather at the Ann Arbor mosque.

In light of doing good deeds, altruism is another important principle that is especially obeyed during Ramadan.

“We believe our good deeds are worth more this month,” Syed said.

MSA is holding a series of events in honor of Ramadan and its call for outreach and philanthropy.

“This is a time when the mosques all over the world are very open and people can go, ask questions and learn about Islam,” said Rackham student and MSA President Omar Khalil.

MSA is also hosting “Fastathon” on Nov. 13. Each local business that participates will donate $1 for every person who participates in Fastathon. All the money raised will go to the Ann Arbor Food Gatherers.

“Later, we will have people come and talk about what they felt when there were fasting and what they thought of the experience,” Khalil said. “It’s for people who would not be fasting normally.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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