Between the first and last night of a crescent moon observed in the sky : this marks the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. During this time, Muslims are called upon by the Koran, the sacred Islamic text, to fast daily, with a meal at nightfall, in which the fasting ritual is broken. According to the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan this year is predicted to be Oct. 25 or 26, falling 10-11 days before last year’s observed period.
As with tradition, daily meals or “break-fasts” as they are aptly called, will be organized by Concordia’s Muslim Students association (MSA), for students already practicing the faith, as well as non-Muslims who would to like to learn about Ramadan. “Our invitation (to the meals) is for everyone, even if (they) are not fasting,” said Bilal Hamideh, VP external to the MSA.
Expected to attend are a significant crowd of 600 people, including many from Concordia’s Muslim community, as well as members of student organizations, and administration representatives.
“Last year we sent some invitations to clubs and associations…also to the CSU executives. We make sure that they know we would like them to join us,” Hamideh emphasized.
With many immigrants and international students observing Ramadan, often without their families, eating together provides an important “feeling of community by being more united,” he added.
Following the meals, there are also nightly prayer sessions, which Hamideh articulated as “not obligatory but highly recommended.”
Although the meals and prayer sessions are the main activities during Ramadan, there will also be lectures with Islamic scholars, and an official “Islamic Awareness Day,” Nov. 5 and 6,where the MSA will occupy tabling space on Concordia’s Mezzanine.
Among some of the cultural items on display will be translated Koran text, as well as Arabic calligraphy and henna tattoos. For those specifically interested in the religion of Islam there will be informational pamphlets and knowledgeable people on hand.
Hamideh, who observes Ramadan himself, explained the fast as an exercise with many benefits. “There is a lot of meaning and significance to it. It teaches you to be patient…it beautifies your soul, (and) it makes you calm.”
Evening breakfasts will be held on the 7th floor in the Hall building cafeteria, with prayer sessions in room 711 at 8:20 p.m. For more information on events during Ramadan visit the MSA at http//:msa.concordia.ca.