Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices: A close look at Ramadan at IU

Ramadan is a holy and reflective holiday celebrated by the Islam community. 

During Ramadan, participating Muslims dry fast do routine prayers, and study the Quran, which is the central religious text of Islam. This year, Ramadan occurs from April 1 to May 1, a total of 30 days.

Some students at IU participating in Ramadan shared their experience of celebrating this holiday while being full-time college students.

Romael Khan, the vice president of the Muslim Student Association and a junior at IU, spoke about the sense of community he has experienced.

IDS: What is your favorite part of Ramadan and what do you look forward to every year?

Khan: The community and going to the mosque that is close to campus. IU’s Muslim community is welcoming, especially for students who are participating in Ramadan their first year on campus. 

IDS: What is the most rewarding part of Ramadan?

Khan: It’s a time of self-improvement, self-reflection and a time in which we pray more. When you are not eating you have to be focused on something else. We are all composed of mind, body and spirit, and when we are no longer focused on the physical body, we can pay more attention to the mind and spirit.

IU sophomore and IU Groups ‘20 President, Ranya Abedelmalik, told her story. 

IDS: Have you been able to find or build a community to participate in Ramadan here at IU?

Abedelmalik: The Muslim Student Association has held iftar a few times, which is the meal you eat at the end of the day to break your fast. I also like going to the mosque in Bloomington, it’s more diverse and inclusive than some Muslim communities here on campus. 

The mosque reminds me more of home. There’s kids running around and screaming and elderly people participating in Ramadan. There are a lot of families at the mosque too which reminds me of my family and it’s just refreshing to see more than just college students because I see that every day.

IDS: What’s your favorite part of Ramadan and what do you look forward to every year?

Abedelmalik: Getting closer to God. External influences in college make it hard to pray as often as I would like. Ramadan is a very peaceful and tranquil time for me. It’s a time when you're starving yourself of temptation and bad deeds, not just food. 

Ramatou Soumare, a senior and president of the NAACP at IU, spoke about her experience participating in Ramadan on campus. 

IDS: Is it harder to participate in Ramadan while being a student at IU compared to participating back home?

Soumare:  It has proven to be difficult because this is my first time fasting on campus. Ramadan usually occurs during the summertime, but this year it is during the spring because of the Lunar calendar. 

The Lunar calendar which we follow is based on the monthly cycles of the Moon's phases. This means we practice Ramadan during a different time each year. 

It’s hard to be engaged in Ramadan’s religious activities. It’s hard to pray on time because of class, and it’s hard to pray as much in general during Ramadan while being a student. There are a lot of end-of-the-year events occurring on campus with a lot of food, which means a lot of temptation. 

IDS: What is the most rewarding part of Ramadan?

Soumare: Knowing my full potential as a Muslim. It’s really hard to practice Islamic law and rulings in the U.S. because we’re not able to pray as much as we would like, but during Ramadan, we’re pushed to do that. Ramadan lets me know I can be the best version of myself all year round, not just for 30 days.

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