Photo courtesy of Office of Spiritual Life

Muslim students observe month of Ramadan through fast, prayer

Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, will begin on the weekend of April 2 and will last until the beginning of May. Ramadan is usually observed by fasting, community prayer and introspection.

Lewis & Clark’s Office of Spiritual Life has regularly provided support and celebration opportunities for Muslim students observing Ramadan. Bon Appétit provides accommodations for students through Fields Dining Hall. Muslim students are encouraged to visit the dining hall before it closes at 8 p.m. in order to pick up their iftar meal, as well as a take-out box for their suhoor meal. Due to COVID-19, take-out options are available at all meals, which has not been a regular option in the past.

“With sunset times ranging from 7:40pm to 8:16pm in April, we hope that this will be a suitable option for any students observing Ramadan,” Ryan Jensen, general manager of Bon Appétit, said in an email statement.

Students can also access an iftar meal at Maggie’s from Monday to Friday until 9 p.m. using a meal swipe.

Additionally, the Office of Spiritual Life, located in the lower level of the chapel, will be open for students to break fast together. There is a prayer space available on the main floor of Aubrey R. Watzek library as well as a prayer and meditation room in Agnes Flanagan Chapel. LC’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) is also planning on hosting an iftar on April 16, which will feature comedy and poetry.

“In 2019 we had our first community iftar during Ramadan, which was truly special,” Hilary Martin Himan, the Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Life said via email. “COVID impacted our 2020 plans for a community iftar, and ever since it has been more challenging to bring together the AES and domestic Muslim students together to break the fast.”

Yasmin Kemer ’22, an MSA Board Member, views Ramadan as a chance to recharge spiritually and practice discipline outside of just fasting. She hopes to take these habits and apply them to her future and her daily life.

“(Celebrating Ramadan during college) has been tough because I live on campus,” Kemer said. “I try to make an effort to go and break fast with family, but because of the distance and the schoolwork and how demanding my schedule is, I’m unable to go back and forth. So oftentimes during the school year … it doesn’t have the same feel as iftar, which is when we break fast, being around people who have also fasted with you and then praying together after breaking fast.”

Kemer also praised all of the assistance that MSA has received from the Office of Spiritual Life. Himan, in particular, has played a crucial role in providing support to Muslim students at LC, and planning events surrounding Ramadan. Kemer appreciates the MSA as a space to get to know other students who identify as Muslim, as not everyone who does is visibly so.

“It gives us a space to identify who’s Muslim and build relationships with one another,” Kemer said.

For more information, support and resources during the month of Ramadan, contact hmhiman@lclark. edu. To get involved with MSA, contact msa@lclark.edu.

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