Celebrating Ramadan and Eid: A Supportive Muslim Community in Warwick

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the exact dates of Ramadan change each year as the calendar follows Moon cycles. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset as an act of devotion to their faith. This is to instil self-discipline, strengthen spiritual health but also to remind them of the sufferings of the poor. Ramadan is more than just fasting; it’s a month full of blessings, patience, and forgiveness. Several important historical events took place during Ramadan, including the revelation of the first verses of the Qu’ran to Prophet Muhammad.

By Alif Iman Bin Asmal, Library Community Ambassador

“Ramaḍan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the standard to distinguish between right and wrong. So whoever is present this month, let them fast. But whoever is ill or on a journey, then let them fast an equal number of days after Ramaḍan. Allah intends ease for you, not hardship, so that you may complete the prescribed period and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, and perhaps you will be grateful.”

The Holy Al-Quran 2:185

The beautiful verse was taken from the Quran and it emphasizes the importance of fasting during Ramadan as an act of devotion and remembrance of Allah, but also encourages flexibility for those who are ill or traveling. Moreover, the verse reminds that Allah intends ease and not hardship. The act of fasting during Ramadan may be challenging, but it is ultimately meant to bring spiritual benefits and gratitude.

On the other hand, Eid al-Fitr, which takes place at the end of Ramadan, is one of the biggest celebrations for Muslims. During Eid, Muslims attend early morning Eid prayers at the nearest mosque and recite short prayers (takbeer). Muslims also make a donation to charity (Zakat al-Fitr) to feed the poor.

Two men wearing tradition Baju Melayu dress. One is wearing black and gold whilst the other is wearing pink and white.
Usually during Eid in Malaysia, Malay men would wear Baju Melayu which is a traditional Malay attire, originated from the court of Malacca Sultanate and is traditionally worn by men in BruneiMalaysiaSingapore, parts of Indonesia (especially Sumatra and Kalimantan). Image: Alif Iman Bin Asmal.

Ramadan and Eid are significant events for the Muslim community, and it is essential for students at the University of Warwick to know how to celebrate these occasions while balancing their academic commitments. For Muslim students at Warwick, Ramadan and Eid can affect their daily routine and studying plans. Here is a guide to help Muslim students navigate through Ramadan and Eid while studying at Warwick.

#1: Find a routine that works best for you

Fasting during Ramadan means that students may need to adjust their study schedules, sleep patterns, and social activities to accommodate the lack of food and drink during daylight hours. For example, students may need to decline invitations to social events that conflict with iftar or night prayers or schedule social gatherings around their religious obligations. This can create feelings of social isolation or FOMO (fear of missing out), which can be challenging for some students to manage.

It is essential for students to manage their time effectively during Ramadan and prioritize their most important academic tasks during times when they feel the most energized and focused. Personally, I am a morning person and I find myself to be the most productive during the morning and I rarely pull all-nighters. During Ramadan, I have to adjust my routine such that I have to sleep much earlier than usual to wake up in the middle of the night to eat before fasting. However, some people find it better to work at night, eat something and go back to bed. As long as you get enough hours of sleep, it is fine.

Since Ramadan this year will take place a month before exams, it is crucial to plan your revision schedule. Rather than planning a strict hour-to-hour timetable, I usually set realistic daily goals to avoid burning out. With each small goal achieved, I feel much more positive and motivated to revise consistently. If you like, form a study group so that you do not feel alone working through the Spring break. If you are spending Ramadan at home and revising, do spend a bit time planning between revising and family time.

When prepping for iftaar, I would prep extra meals so that I can spend more time revising. If you are living with your friends off-campus, do consider taking turns prepping meals for the whole house. Ramadan is also a month of sharing blessings, so feel free to exchange and share meals with your friends. This can definitely be a great motivational boost and make it a much more enjoyable experience.

#2: Support System: The Warwick Islamic Community

A group of Muslim men praying. Most are sitting down but one man in a white and grey t-shirt is standing up. They are all facing away from the camera.
Every night throughout the holy month of Ramadan, the Warwick Islamic Society will be organizing iftar and Tarawih prayers. Do drop by the Muslim prayer hall if you are around campus and would like to meet fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. Image: Alif Iman Bin Asmal.

Ramadan and Eid can also trigger feelings of homesickness and isolation for some students who may be away from their families and familiar communities during this time. It is important for Muslim students to find supportive communities to help them navigate through these challenges and maintain their religious practices while studying at Warwick especially since it is during Spring break.

I still remember when I was a 1st Year living in the Claycroft halls. Waking up to have breakfast by myself where most of flatmates were asleep or away for the Spring break. However, I was very fortunate to have friends and my flatmates who joined me to break my fast together.

It is worth noting that The University of Warwick has a vibrant Muslim community, and there are several places on campus where students can find support and celebrate Ramadan and Eid. The Muslim Prayer Room in the Chaplaincy building is open daily for prayer and iftar during Ramadan. The Islamic Society (ISOC) also organizes iftar dinners, night prayers, and other events throughout the month of Ramadan and Eid celebrations.

The Islamic Society (ISOC) is one of the most active societies at the University of Warwick, providing a platform for Muslim students to connect, socialize, and engage with their faith. ISOC organizes various events throughout the academic year, including talks, workshops, and community service projects. Check out their Instagram @warwick.isoc for the latest updates!

In addition to the Islamic society, The Warwick Malaysian Student Association (WMSA) is also an active society at Warwick which hosts a range of events and activities during Eid, including a traditional Malaysian feast called “open house,” where students can enjoy delicious Malaysian food, music, and cultural performances. WMSA is a valuable community for Malaysian students and other students who are interested in Malaysian culture and traditions. Visit their Instagram @warwickmsa for the latest updates!

#3: Wellbeing

When it comes to wellbeing and fasting, I would like to stress more on sleeping and diets:

Sleep is essential, especially when you’ve had less nutritional fuel to keep you running. Ensuring that you don’t stay up too late, that you get the required 7-8 hours of sleep, and that you maintain a good sleep schedule can help you the next day and the day after that. When it comes to your health, running about without sleep or food is a formula for catastrophe. This might imply that you need to take a sleep in the middle of the day. Listening to your body is vital, even if it is something you do not normally do.

When you have been fasting for the whole day and when it is finally time to eat, remember to eat healthier things. Keep in mind that what you eat might make you feel even more exhausted, especially if you overeat. It is also important to drink enough of water before loading up on food since your body will be dehydrated. Water is preferable, but fresh juices or smoothies are also excellent sources of fluids as well as vitamins and minerals. Coconut water, which is high in electrolytes, is another pleasant alternative.

In conclusion, Ramadan and Eid are significant events for the Muslim community, and it’s essential for students at the University of Warwick to find supportive communities and resources to celebrate these occasions while balancing their academic commitments. The University of Warwick has a vibrant Muslim community, and Muslim students can find various societies, organizations, and places to celebrate Ramadan and Eid while studying at Warwick.

If you’re interested in celebrating Ramadan and Eid, do get in contact with Warwick’s Islamic Society, who are running a range of events during the festive period.

How are you celebrating Ramadan and Eid this year? Do you have any questions about observing the festival during exam season? Get in touch by tweeting us @warwicklibrary, sending us a message on Instagram @warwicklibrary or by emailing us at libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk.

Cover image: Ahmed Aqtai.

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