Ramadan as a student at the U of R

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A sketch of a table with food set out. Through a window we can see a crescent moon.
I cannot begin to imagine how much more delicious food must look after nearly a full day of fasting. kinkate via Pixabay and Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay, manipulated by lee lim

Muslim students observe Ramadan with support from larger community

The blessed month of Ramadan is upon us, and Muslims worldwide partake in this period of spiritual rejuvenation, self-discipline, and communal solidarity. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is significant for Muslims around the globe. According to Muslim traditions, Ramadan is the month in which the Holy Qur’an, the final revelation from God, was bestowed upon the seal of prophethood, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and fasting was ordained for the believers. 

At the heart of Ramadan is the act of fasting, known as ‘sawm’ in Arabic. Fasting during the month of Ramadan not only entails abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs from dawn until sunset, but this physical discipline is accompanied by increased spiritual devotion, recitation of the holy Qur’an, and acts of charity. It serves as a means of cultivating self-discipline and gratitude.  

By voluntarily abstaining from worldly pleasures, Muslims seek to attain a deeper awareness of their reliance on God alone and develop empathy for those who are less fortunate. Coming to the University of Regina (U of R) campus, which consists of a Muslim community of diverse ethnicities, backgrounds, creeds, and races, students find themselves at this point managing fasting alongside coursework, extracurricular activities, as well as the upcoming semester final exams. 

Balancing the demands of academic life with the spiritual obligations of Ramadan can be overwhelming, but it certainly offers a great opportunity for self-reflection, personal development, and, above all, self-discipline. From early morning suhoor meals to breaking the fast with iftar gatherings either at the mosque, in dorms, or at home, the month of Ramadan buzzes with a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose. 

There are several mosques this year which are offering iftars throughout Ramadan. Students are encouraged to make judicious use of these offerings. The mosques providing Ramadan iftars around the city include the IAOS Main Mosque on 3272 Montague St., the Rahmah Centre on the second floor of 1237 Albert St., the Baitul Mukarram on 1405 Albert St., and the Darul Falah Islamic Centre on 1876 Wallace St.. Potential donors are also encouraged to connect with these mosques to contribute, as community generosity is of paramount importance to be able to continue these endeavours in society. 

At the U of R campus, the University of Regina Muslim Students’ Association (URMSA), which has been serving the Muslim student community since 1996, ensures religious accommodation and support for Muslim students extending beyond just providing spaces for the five daily prayers.  

The availability of prayer spaces such as the one in room 285 of the Riddell Centre, situated conveniently across from the student union desk, highlights the university’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for the diverse student body. The campus musallah (dedicated prayer space) is thoughtfully designed to accommodate the spiritual and religious needs of Muslim students with facilities such as prayer mats, Qur’an copies, and directional indicators help to facilitate proper alignment during prayers. The Jummah (Friday congregational prayers) are usually held in room 222 of the Centre for Kinesiology, Health and Sport. 

This year, the URMSA made accommodations to facilitate the Taraweeh prayers on campus. The Taraweeh prayer is the night prayer performed after Isha (the evening prayer) every night during the month of Ramadan. It is a highly recommended sunnah (prophetic tradition) where mosques across the world hold congregational Taraweeh prayers for both men and women every night of this blessed month. It is performed out of sincerity and faith in the hope of earning a reward from the Almighty, and having one’s past sins pardoned. This prayer begins after the evening prayer every night at 8:45 p.m. on room 285 of the Riddell Centre in the campus musallah, thus providing fellow students to not only partake in this highly blessed occasion but also connect with the student community on a spiritual level. 

URMSA organized the “Lectures and Iftar” event titled “Miracles of the Quran” on March 16. The event was a resounding success where prominent speakers such as Sheikh Tosir Miah, Sheikh Yusuf Badat, and Maulana Altaf were invited to speak on the importance of the Holy Qur’an, the prophetic characteristics and the scientific miracles of the Qur’an, followed by a Q & A session and the Maghrib congregational prayers, concluding with the breaking of the fast on campus. Another event of interest to Muslim students was the Grand Iftar Islamic Relief Canada 2024 organized by Islamic Relief Canada in collaboration with URMSA at the Royal Hotel Regina on March 29.  

As Ramadan is a time of profound spiritual significance and communal solidarity for Muslims around the world, students of the Islamic faith find themselves navigating the balance between academic responsibilities and spiritual obligations of fasting, prayer and community engagement. Despite the challenges posed by managing coursework, midterms, and final exams, Ramadan is the time when we self-reflect on our personal growth and spiritual development.  

It is worth noting that Muslim students at the U of R are supported by a network of resources and accommodations on and off campus. The lessons learned and bonds forged during this month will certainly continue to resonate and guide us on a path of growth, compassion, and spiritual enlightenment. 

As students of the Islamic faith have already embarked on this journey of spiritual rejuvenation during this month, I would encourage everyone on campus to embrace the values of Ramadan: compassion, empathy, and generosity. May this month serve as a source of inspiration for us all fostering a compassionate and united community on campus and beyond! 

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