It’s Ramadan, the most important month in the Islamic calendar.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the holiest month of the Islamic calendar observed by Muslim’s around the world as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community. Fasting takes place from dawn to sunset, Suhoor is the preparation for the fast ahead at dawn and Iftar is the nightly feast that breaks the fast when the sun sets. During Ramadan, Muslim’s engage in philanthropic practices and fasting is believed to bring mental and physical clarity to the body whilst serving as a heightened devotion of self-discipline. Fasting is also thought to help in instil compassion in food-insecure persons.
Spending the month away from family and friends can feel quite daunting for Muslim international students who are already adapting to life away from home in a new country. If you’re feeling a bit uneasy about what may be your first Ramadan at University, don’t worry! Here are some ways you can keep tradition, culture and observe the Islamic month.
Observing Ramadan in the U.K
The U.K is an inclusive nation that invites everyone to practice their faith in a multicultural society. In public spaces such as universities, hospitals and libraries, there are wudu washing and prayer facilities for you to use freely, as well as Quran’s, prayer mats and other Islamic scripture.
- Join the Islamic Society at University and engage with your multi-faith centre at University. During the month of Ramadan there is often group prayers for Maghrib and Iftar nights where you can pray and break your fast with other Muslims. Islamic Society’s at University also host charity events for you to get involved with and feel a sense of community.
- Meeting other Muslim’s in your student accommodation is a great way to observe the month of Ramadan together and find familiarity with other students in your home away from home. You can meet up, have flat cooking nights and pray together using communal quiet spaces.
- Visit your local halal butchers or world foods store for the essential suhoor and iftar snacks. If you don’t have an international food store in your university town / city, the U.K supermarket chain Tesco’s stocks halal produce.
- In addition, volunteering at your local mosque/masjid is a great way to exercise the third pillar of Islam (zakat). Volunteering and giving to charity helps you to give back to your community and serve those in need. Islamic Relief is a U.K based charity where Muslims come together through charitable endeavours to empower disadvantaged people and provide aid to nations in crisis.
For other ways you can have a fulfilled Ramadan away from home, click here.