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BYU Muslim Students Celebrate Ramadan and Share Their Experience

The BYU Muslim Student Association celebrates Iftar to conclude the fast. Those who participated in Ramadan fasted from sunrise to sunset every day of the Muslim holy month, breaking their fast with Iftar once the sun has gone down. (Photo courtesy of Salma Shaksher)

Muslim students at BYU fasted from sunrise to sunset every day during the holy month of Ramadan, which began April 1 this year and ended May 2.

BYU’s community of Muslim students who participated in the fast shared their experience of celebrating the holy month of Muslims while attending a school formed primarily by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Ramadan is the holy month of fasting in the ninth month of Islamic calendarand is commemorated as the time when the Islamic prophet Mohammed moved back Koran from Allahthe God of Islam.

Ramadan is the holy month of fasting in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Ramadan is commemorated as the time when the Islamic prophet Muhammad received the Quran from Allah, the God of Islam. (Image by Megan Zaugg with Canva)

Those who participate in Ramadan must fast from sunrise to sunset every day of the month, breaking their fast with Iftar once the sun has gone down.

Salma Shaksher, a BYU student from Palestine, said Ramadan isn’t just about fasting food and drink, and stressed that for her, it’s also about fasting against bad habits.

“It’s about becoming the best versions of ourselves,” Shaksher said. “We tend to do our best to pray, do good deeds, give money to the poor, etc.”

Shaksher pointed out that celebrating the holy month while studying at BYU, compared to celebrating it with an Arab or Muslim community in his home country, was different because there were fewer people to celebrate with.

Besides being estranged from his home and family, Muslim students like Shaksher faced other hardships. Because the Islamic calendar is shorter than the traditional Gregorian calendar, Ramadan falls at a different time each year. This year, BYU students celebrating Ramadan fasted during finals week.

“I stayed up all night, drank lots of water and ate until sunrise. Then I slept for a bit, then I woke up,” Shaksher said.

Shaksher also said she had to take an exam while fasting and admitted that although fasting during finals was difficult, she was able to find strength in prayer.

“I took a bottle of water with me for my finance test. It looked like the sun had definitely set, then I drank my water and finished my test. It didn’t end. affected my grade at all, I did better than usual,” Shaksher said. “When God is with you and the spirit fills you, it’s not so hard anymore. I didn’t feel or hunger nor thirst.

Shaksher recently attended BYU’s Muslim Students Association Celebrating iftar and having a community at BYU gives her an idea of ​​what it would be like at home in Palestine.

The BYU Muslim Student Association celebrates Ramadan with Iftar. Those who participated in Ramadan fasted from sunrise to sunset every day of the month, breaking their fast with Iftar once the sun has gone down. (Photo courtesy of Salma Shaksher).

“Seeing my family back home makes me homesick,” Shaksher said. “But having people of the same religion here who practice Ramadan makes me feel like it’s not so bad after all.”

BYU student Adnan Khayyat also attended the Muslim Student Association’s Iftar celebration and shared the view that he felt similar to the community feeling of his home in Palestine.

“I have a lot of Middle Eastern friends here,” Khayyat said. “Even though not all of them are Muslims, we always celebrate together.”

Khayyat said his Christian friends also joined him in his Ramadan celebrations.

“I have many friends who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Khayyat said. “They also fast with us.”

Although Ramadan is a Muslim holiday, traditions may vary between cultures and countries, as Islam is practiced around the world and principally in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Western Asia.

Provo resident Syahrul Hussan said she misses celebrating the holy month with her neighbors and family in her home country of Malaysia.

“Children visit all the houses in the community and receive small envelopes containing money,” Hussan said.

Hussan said the walkways between the mosque and their homes are lit up with lanterns and lights to help them return home after Iftar celebrations.

“I miss the lights,” Hussan said. “Everything was so festive.”

Hussan also said that Ramadan is a time when good deeds multiply and she tries to be more charitable and generous during this time.

“Back home, we used to meet in mosques and provide food for the poor and the homeless,” Hussan said.

For more information on Ramadan and Islam, visit BYU Muslim Student Association.

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