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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Building character and community through faith

Photo by Photo by Abby Collida

The Islamic community fasts from dawn until dusk to increase their connection with God during Ramadan. Many communities gather at the end of the day for a large meal.

Ramadan, a time for increased awareness, spirituality, charity and community, has begun with the new moon.
It’s a Thursday night in June and the mosque in College Station is packed. Community members have gathered for evening prayers and to break their day of fasting. Anwer Ahmed, President of the Islamic Community of Bryan-College Station and accounting professor, said there are five pillars to the Islamic faith: declaration of faith, five daily prayers, taking care of the needy, pilgrimage, and fasting in the month of Ramadan.
“The purpose of the fast is to increase our Taqwa, which is the consciousness of God, the love of God, and the fear of God. Basically to strengthen our connection with him,” Ahmed said. “Every act of worship in Islam is actually directed towards that … Basically, in fasting you’re giving up your food, your drink [and] your relations with your spouse for the sake of God during the day. From dawn to dusk you avoid these things.”
Nooran Riaz, an allied health sophomore, described the character building aspect of Ramadan.
“The main basis of it is to learn to control your desires — hunger, thirst,” Riaz said. “When you learn to control these basic desires, you can control your behavior which leads to being a better Muslim and a better person.”
In ways other than than fasting, Ramadan brings out a heightened sense of personal awareness. Mu’Ath Adlouni, president of the Muslim Student Association and biomedical engineering junior, explained other ways Muslims modify their behavior for the month of Ramadan.
“Other than fast, they try to reduce some of their bad habits in general,” Adlouni said. “So maybe some people would listen to more appropriate music. Maybe they would stop biting their nails or maybe read the Quran more. Maybe they would stop cursing or hold their tongue or practice more patience. [It’s about] making sure that you are in control of yourself and your desires.”
Aldouni said his family participates in Ramadan by praying and eating together throughout the month.
“A big part of Ramadan is community and family,” Aldouni said. “We wake up early in the morning together to get some last bits of food before we begin the fast. Then we hold our fast together, we go about our lives like we normally do and then we’ll prepare a large meal just for the family. It’s sort of just more of a family spiritual situation.”
Iftar, the evening meal which signifies the end of the day’s fast, is a special event focused on family and community. Ahmed said the College Station mosque hosts Iftar every night during the month of Ramadan for students. According to Riaz, Ramadan is a time to strengthen the community, which can be particularly important to Muslims living in College Station who may be separated from their families. Riaz highlighted the community aspect of Ramadan when discussing her favorite moment at the end of a long day.
“That moment when I sit down after fasting the whole day, just serving food and dealing with small issues that come up and I finally get to sit down and I look around … I look at all the different groups,” Riaz said. “Seeing everybody interact together, that’s my favorite part. I just love watching my mosque having that time because it’s such a special time.”
Riaz said Ramadan is a very special time because the charity you do matters more than it does in other times of the year. Charitable donations are a significant tradition of the month and mosques are able to hold large fundraisers for themselves and other organizations. Ahmed described the fundraising which takes place at the local mosque.
“The charity is given locally; we have refugees in Houston,” Ahmed said. “Sometimes it’s sent overseas to the Rohingya Muslims who are really suffering in Bangladesh. It’s a terrible crisis going on there. [We give] wherever there is a need.”
Ahmed said students and community members who are interested in Ramadan and Islam are invited to the mosque’s open house. The next open house will be held in the fall semester.

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  • The Islamic community fasts from dawn until dusk to increase their connection with God during Ramadan. Many communities gather at the end of the day for a large meal.

    Photo by Photo by Abby Collida

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