UC Staff and Students Prepare to Celebrate Ramadan

Giovanna Brunetto, Staff Writer

UC High’s Muslim students and staff are preparing to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, from March 23 to April 21,  in order to grow spiritually and become closer to God through fasting and worship.

   Ramadan is the month-long fasting season for Muslims that is meant to deepen spiritual connections and bring families closer, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. From sunrise to sunset, all members of the Islamic religion fast by avoiding foods and beverages, as well as avoiding any phrases or actions that are considered to be unethical in their culture  (britannica.com).

   “Ramadan is an incredibly important month to Muslims because it was the time of year when our holy book, the Qur’an, was revealed,” said Theater Director Nia Hilton, a teacher at UC High who is Muslim.

   The Islamic religion follows what is known as the Five Pillars of Islam that come from the Qur’an. According to Crest Research, these five pillars include the declaration of faith, prayer, almsgiving, fasting, and pilgrimage. Though fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars, practicing Muslims are expected to fulfill all five pillars in their lifetimes (crestresearch.ac.uk).

      Just like other holidays, Ramadan has its own special traditions. “Some traditions we do during Ramadan are putting up decorations, making food together, reading the Quran together, and going to the masjid to break our fast,” said Freshman Dannah Shinta. “My favorite part about celebrating Ramadan is getting closer to my religion and spending time with my family,” said Shinta.

   A masjid is another word for a mosque, or Islamic place of worship. After what’s called a sunset prayer, Muslims are allowed to break their fast until sunrise the next day. To celebrate while they can, multiple families will gather in a masjid to engage in this practice together. Others prefer to gather in the comfort of their own homes to break the fast with their closest family members (britannica.com).

   During Ramadan, Muslims will avoid any unethical behaviors in order to improve as a human being. By not eating or drinking, Muslims are taught to be grateful for what they have, and recognize those who suffer from a shortage of food and water (eatright.org).    

   “The beginning is a little difficult because your body is adjusting to fasting, but I really enjoy the mental clarity it brings, the feeling of community, seeing my friends and family, and having an entire month where I feel more at peace,” said Hilton.

   Although fasting is an important part of Ramadan, “…it is more broadly interpreted as the obligation to refrain between dawn and dusk from food, drink, …and all forms of immoral behavior, including impure or unkind thoughts. Thus, false words or bad deeds or intentions are as destructive of a fast as is eating or drinking,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica (britannica.com).

   During Ramadan, certain groups of people do not have to participate in fasting. According to a website regarding Islam, these groups include those with a physical or mental illness, women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or menstruating, and travelers, the elderly, and young children (islamicfinder.org).