April 2 marked the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, observed by over 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. At NJIT, we pride ourselves in our diverse campus, which is a melting pot of cultures, religions and backgrounds. Muslims make up one of the largest communities on campus. Chances are, you may know a few in your classes, and you may have wondered what Ramadan is about. Here are a few interesting facts about this month and why it is so sacred to Islam.
Q: What is Ramadan?
A: Ramadan is the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is a month of spiritual reawakening, as many Muslims use the month as an opportunity to renew their faith. In this month, Muslims will read the Quran, pray at their local mosques and fast from sunrise to sunset. It is also a month of introspection, as Muslims must do their best to refrain from bad habits like cursing, listening to inappropriate music and other personal vices. Muslims are obligated to donate to the needy during this month. The purpose of the month is to shift focus from the daily humdrum of life to improving our character and reconnecting with our Creator. Ramadan is also a month of gathering with loved ones to share meals — since everyone breaks their fast at the same time!
Q: What’s the deal with fasting?
A: During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset every day. We refrain from both food and water during this time. Not only must Muslims fast from food and water, but we must also refrain from immoral behavior like lying, cheating and disrespecting our parents. These bad deeds can also break one’s fast. But what is the significance of fasting from food and water? As mentioned before, Ramadan is a month of self-restraint. If one can restrain themselves from eating from sunrise to sunset, then one can easily overcome bad habits to bring them closer to God.
Oh, you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and righteousness” [Quran, 2:183]
Q: What is Eid?
A: Eid is a Muslim celebration that takes place twice a year. The two different Eids include Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Fitr translates to Festival of Breaking Fast and marks the end of Ramadan. It is a joyous celebration where Muslim families gather to pray at the mosque for Eid prayer. Gifts are exchanged and food is shared. This celebration lasts up to three days, as Muslims dedicate this time to thanking God for all the blessings that He has provided.
Q: How does Ramadan look like for an NJIT student?
A: For many Muslims on campus, Ramadan can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Mornings usually start with a breakfast before sunrise, called sehri or suhoor, and then the morning prayer before returning to bed. Between our classes, we will pray and read the Quran in the Meditation Room of the Campus Center. Some students can return home in time for sunset to break their fast, while others have 6-9 p.m. classes that they must attend. Students will usually break their fast on campus with dates and water. The NJIT Muslim Student Association also hosts nightly congregations called Taraweeh to gather students for communal prayer.
Q: How do I say “Happy Ramadan” or “Happy Eid” to my Muslim Friends?
A: You can say “Ramadan Mubarak,” which means “Happy Ramadan.” You can also say “Eid Mubarak,” which means “Happy Eid.”
Have any more questions? Feel free to reach out to the NJIT MSA via email: firstname.lastname@example.org