The end of the semester is slowly coming upon us. The weather is gradually starting to get nicer as the spring weather is truly starting to kick in here at Rutgers. Cherry blossoms and daffodils have been spotted all around campus, and though everyone wants to try and enjoy the beautiful magic that comes with nature, everyone is busy.
Professors are cramming their last few exams and assignments of the semester before finals and everyone is simply crammed with time and everyone's time management and organization is completely whack. I understand it all, as I am experiencing the exact same thing with four essays due yesterday, one due Friday, one due Monday and an exam the following week (end of semester is so rough).
With just nearly three weeks left, along with finals, my very first year as a college student will end. It is honestly quite mind-blowing how quickly this year has gone by and how many things and people I will miss from this year. But for a Muslim woman like myself, the end of this semester brings about the beginning of one of the most beautiful Islamic months: Ramadan.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. In this month, Muslims all over the world fast from sunrise until sunset and abstain from drinking or eating anything during that time period. Muslims wake up some time before sunrise to eat and drink before enduring the fast. This meal is referred to as Suhoor. When breaking the fast at sunset, the meal is referred to as Iftar. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is 1 of the 5 pillars of the Islamic faith. It is obligatory for every Muslim who has reached the age of puberty to fast, with exceptions to those who are sick or traveling, as well as menstruating or pregnant women, who make up the fast on later days.
Muslims fast for two reasons. Firstly, Muslims fast because, simply, that is what God has commanded us to do, and we must follow his word. Secondly, Ramadan is observed by Muslims around the world in order for them to experience the hunger millions of people around the world experience on a day-to-day basis.
During Iftar time, we are able to find a meal at our table. But, millions of people, not just Muslims, live in starvation and die of hunger every second. With all this being said, Ramadan is not only through abstaining from food and drink. Ramadan is a time for Muslims to rid themselves of any worldly desires and focus solely on their devotion to God. Ramadan warrants a spiritual reflection of yourself and establishing a stronger relationship with God. Every moment of the day and night is sacred and precious, and Muslims find ways to practice their faith.
While walking to class or sitting on the bus, you may find a Muslim reciting one-word supplications, or listening to or reading Quranic recitations from their phones. There is a lot of significance attached to the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the month in which the very first few verses of the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book, was revealed to mankind.
With Ramadan being the time to grow closer to God, many Muslims will travel to their local mosque following Iftar to perform more prayer or read more Quran. After the month of Ramadan is completed, which can be either 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the moon, comes a celebration known as Eid al-Fitr. This celebration marks the end of the month and end of fasting. I am ecstatic for Ramadan and am glad to have shared some answers to some common questions people may have about this month.
Laila Ahmed is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year majoring in information technology and informatics and English. Her column, “The Unapologetic Writer,” runs on alternate Thursdays.
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