What you might not know about Ramadan

Makeda Ephraim, Staff Writer

As the month of April comes to an end, so does the holy month of Ramadan.  

Starting April 2, Muslims around the world observe Ramadan which commemorates the month when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad. 

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from food and drink, including water, from sunrise to sunset. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. The fasting is intended to draw those who participate closer to God and to cultivate self-control and gratitude.

“When you feel so fatigued and tired from fasting it reminds you of all the people that need help,” chemistry teacher Rania Qabbani said. “It reminds you to give back to your community.”

This spiritual month is an opportunity for self-reflection and spiritual improvement. 

“We’re not only fasting from food and drink,” physics teacher Beth Almallah said. “If you use bad language, if you bite your nails, or if you have a negative attitude, you’re supposed to work on that this month.”

During Ramadan, Muslim families get up before sunrise and eat a breakfast-like meal called suhar. Then they abstain from all food and drink throughout the day for about 11-16 hours. 

“Since I eat before sunrise before coming to school, I don’t get too hungry during school,” senior Noor Damra said. “I do get really tired when I get home, so I take a nap then do my homework.”

After sundown at about 7:30 p.m. they break their fast starting with foods like dates, soups and other light foods. 

“You have to practice self control and not stuff your face–take your time while eating,” Alamallah said. “Starting with the water, the soup and the dates helps slow you down.”

According to Qabbani, Ramadan prayers and family gatherings can go late into the night.  She sends out an email to the school faculty prior to Ramadan to remind teachers that students may be hungry and tired–especially in the afternoon. 

The holy month ends on May 2 with a Muslim major holiday call Eid ul-Fitr or the “Festival of the Breaking of the Fast.”  The day begins with a special prayer and sermon followed by a community celebration.