“No, not even water”.

This is what I usually respond with to my friends who ask me if I’m allowed to drink water while fasting. Many of you might have come across your Muslim friends talking about Ramadan and fasting. Firstly let’s cover what Ramadan is, it is a holy month in the Islamic calendar where Muslims all over the world fast from dawn to dusk. It commemorates the revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) Fasting means you don’t eat or drink and abstain from sinful activities during the fasting period.

Most people wake up before dawn to partake in a meal known as Suhoor. Suhoor helps you from being too hungry during the day. The evening meals that mark the breaking of the fast during Ramadan are called Iftars. In Southampton, local mosques usually have iftars open to all. The University of Southampton’s Islamic Society also hosts iftars open to the public every day during Ramadan.

Ramadan for Muslims is a special month to get closer to their faith, avoid sins and learn patience. It serves as a reminder of the blessings one has and helps you empathise with those less fortunate, making us appreciate the pain of hunger.

Charity, otherwise known as Zakat, is extremely important during Ramadan if you are capable. Muslims are encouraged to give to those in need, whether through monetary donations, providing meals, or other acts of kindness.

At the end of the month, there is a big celebration called Eid ul Fitr. On campus the Islamic society usually has plenty of stalls and events on Eid if you are interested.

Now you may have some questions about how to interact with your muslim friends who are fasting.
– Be flexible with their prayer times:
– Share Ramadan Greetings
– Be Respectful of Their Fasting. Most muslims won’t mind you eating in front of them
– It’s okay to ask sincere, respectful questions

Written by Eshaa Fathima, SUSU International Officer 2023/24

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