Eyes open, it’s still dark out. The alarm goes off before sunrise like planned, and it’s time to start hydrating by drinking the first few glasses of water. Breakfast is cooked to fill everyone’s bellies with a following morning prayer for revitalization.
This is a typical morning when practicing Ramadan, for senior biological anthropology major and Muslim, Bahar Naimzadeh.
Ramadan is a sacred holiday for Islam that falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and functions on a lunar basis. Every year, Ramadan moves forward 11 days from the previous year which coincidentally starts during this year’s finals week until July 6.
“It’s considered sacred in Islam because it’s the month the Quran, which is the book that is revealed by God to our prophet (peace be upon him), was revealed unto him for the first time,” Muslim Student Association President Ryan Holdridge said.
A large component of practicing Ramadan is fasting, which represents one of the five pillars of Islam.
Yusuf Sadaat, Muslim Student Association member, said Ramadan is a time for not listening or looking at impure things. This is a way of fasting and purifying intentions, thoughts and actions by abstaining from food and drink from dawn to dusk.
“During Ramadan we deprive our stomachs to feed our hearts,” Sadaat said.
Holdridge, who converted to Islam his freshman year, said Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims to get together with the community, perfect their worship and recharge. Holdridge has practiced Ramadan two times and said it is his favorite time of year.
Naimzadeh grew up with her parents practicing Ramadan and started seriously fasting her senior year of high school. Ramadan is typically practiced when a child had hit puberty. Naimzadeh’ s family did not force her to practice Ramadan until she was comfortable.
Ramadan usually does not take place during the fall to spring school year. However, Naimzadeh remembers her experience two years ago when she was taking an anatomy course during summer quarter.
“During Ramadan we deprive our stomachs to feed our hearts.”
Naimzadeh said her experience was stressful and that fasting during summer quarter trained her to gain her self-control.
During finals week, Naimzadeh plans to wake at 3:30 to 4 a.m. which is an hour before sunrise, and then make breakfast, eat, pray and sleep. At 7:30 a.m. she plans to wake up again and attend class or work. In the afternoon, she prays and then later in the evening, she goes home to hang out with family, pray again and read the Quran.
“Most Muslims like to finish the entire Quran in Arabic throughout the month, which means about a thirtieth of the Quran everyday,” Holdridge said.
However, Ramadan is not only about fasting; it is also a month of charity for Muslims.
“At the end of Ramadan, we also give Zakat, which is a certain percentage of your yearly income that you donate to charity,” Naimzadeh said.
The Muslim Student Association usually plans an event called Rammidify WWU and invites Muslims and non-Muslims to eat together but this year, they plan to provide an alternate event due to financial reasons.