This year, Ramadan starts on Friday April 1, and ends on the first day of May. Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, is observed by 1.6 million people each year.
It is a time of spiritual discipline, which is referred to as “sawm.” Sawm is one of the five pillars of Islam. The month of Ramadan is a holy month, and it’s believed that the gates of heaven are opened up toward all the righteous Muslims. All the way from sunrise to sundown, they practice restraint from food, water, and other material pleasures.
Before sunrise, a pre-fast meal known as “suhoor” is eaten. In the afternoon, “iftar” is eaten. Ramadan is also a month of community–families eat both meals together, and Muslim communities gather in a mosque to pray together. During this month, people also come to the mosque for nightly prayers called “taraweeh.”
“I eat suhoor and iftarw with my family, go to taraweeh everyday, and all of these activities are during a special month for us. It’s such an important time for family and getting closer to my religion,” said junior Yara Shobut.
“Everyone comes together to eat, because a lot of families don’t eat at the same time. Everyone in the community goes to the Mosque to pray together. It’s a really big deal, and the big celebration is always worth it,” said sophomore Souhaila Elkhezzani.
The end of the Ramadan fast is celebrated as Eid al-Fitr, the “Feast of Fast-Breaking.” Eid is a time for celebration and self-reflection, as well as an opportunity for charity and community. People greet each other with “Eid Mubarak,” meaning “Blessed Eid.” Special food is prepared for the celebration, and charity is encouraged for those in need. Gifts are given between families and friends.
“To me, Ramadan means helping those in need and spending time with loved ones. It’s also a time for reflection and being appreciative for what you have. It’s exciting as Eid comes at the end of the month, so it’s a month full of festivities!” said junior Sabreen Sarwar.
Teachers at Wayne Hills who observe Ramadan also weighed in.
“Ramandan is an important month to me as it is centered around purifying your soul and strengthening your relationship with God. Many Muslims during this holy month do this by fasting, praying, and donating money to charity. During the month of Ramadan I will be fasting from sunrise to sunset. While I sacrifice one month of fasting I am reminded of those who do not have the luxury of basic needs and are food deprived all year,” said Ms. Ajaj, who teaches special education math.
“I love it when Ramadan comes around because my family is always together and it brings a lot of happiness,” said sophomore Noor Rana.
We would like to wish students and teachers who observe Ramadan a “Ramadan Mubarak” (Happy Ramadan).