The month of Ramadan has started off yet again at SLA Main for the third time in the month of May. Monday, April 6th of this year marked the first day of what’s known as the holy month for the Muslim community.
Ramadan is a time to detach from worldly pleasures and focus on one’s prayers. Many Muslims dress more conservatively during Ramadan and spend more time at the mosque than at any other time of the year. Beawiharta, Reuters Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, and charity.
Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam. The fast begins at dawn and ends at sunset. In addition to abstaining from eating and drinking during this time, Muslims also increase restraint, such as abstaining from sexual relations and generally sinful speech and behavior.
In 2019, a large number of students participate in the fasting process where for a full month no food or liquids are permitted to enter your body until the sun sets during the prayer, Maghrib.
Coincidentally, the end of the year’s activities that the entire school participates in fall around the same time as Ramadan fasting. This keeps students from participating in school-related events such as class potlucks, sports parties, and even field day.
“It isn’t as difficult as I expected it to be especially since some of my friends are fasting with me so we get to share the experience together,” Senior Aysha Siddiquee tells us, “it’s getting harder now with all of the end of the year parties and events including food since we are and will constantly be surrounded by food.”
Even though people do have their fair share of questions and concerns at the end of the day the Muslim students do understand it comes out of curiosity and wanting to learn which makes it that much more exciting to share new knowledge and in general the community that they have of Islam.
Although there is a large group of SLA students who have been fasting for a long period of time now who claim that Ramadan isn’t as been as difficult this year specifically, compared to all of the other years.
“When it comes to the activities around the school, I fasted for many many years and some days are easier than others, especially when week without walls comes and the temperature rises to 80 and 90 degrees.” Junior Mamadou Samassa speaks on his experience so far.
“Now we have a system in place in order to make it easier on us to go and pray which makes our fast that much more complete.” Aysha goes in depth on the community in general.
This year, along with last year, SLA allows students to make use of space in the building to perform their prayers during school hours. This year especially, students were overwhelmed when the principle, Mr. Lehmann, allowed a small group to leave school grounds to pray at the Masjid Al-Jamia, located on 42nd and Walnut.
“This year was a really unique experience, the principle actually let us last Friday. It proves that the school shows general understanding and respect o all religions and all values that students have.” Mamadou Samassa expands.
As far as respect goes in the SLA community, many Muslim students feel overly comfortable fasting and gain a lot of support not only from their peers but also from the staff and teachers — even Chris Lehmann, SLA’s founding principle.
Although there are few students who went in depth on the lack of help their peers provide.
“For the most part, my friends don’t exactly help my fasting process but not on purpose. For example, we’d be playing a basketball game and convince me to play another round — sometimes they forget which is completely okay.” Samassa continues.
As a student who surrounds herself with many Mulsim friends, Senior AIlin Li goes in depth on the support she attempts to provide throughout the entire month.
“I try not to eat around those who are fasting just because it doesn’t feel right while they’re doing it for a good reason. I support the idea of Ramadan and my friends even influenced me to fast myself because of how healthy it is and to, of course, support them.” Li expands on her experiences this year with her Muslim companions.
Ramadan is a time for prayer. SLA has been able to create a space that respects religion and allows people to have a place to pray and find others who share the same beliefs.