Ramadan is one of the five “pillars of Islam,” the others being daily prayer, declaration of faith, alms-giving and the pilgrimage to Mecca. It is a Muslim holiday that is celebrated around the world during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During Ramadan, people fast and experience spiritual growth throughout a whole month, during which people do not eat, drink or participate in sexual relations from dawn until sunset.
According to the Quran, celebration of Ramadan, more specifically fasting, allows followers to be conscious of God. Resisting necessities, like water and food, for a month allows one to appreciate the value of those things and reconsider the meaning of life. Ramadan is a chance for believers to stay away from sinful acts and be kind, forgiving and compassionate.
During Ramadan, many students may experience a lack of sympathy and understanding from people who do not identify as Muslim and have a lack of knowledge about the holiday. To make the experience more enjoyable, the college community can start with emotional support; making sure that every student is accommodated according to their needs during Ramadan would create a more welcoming experience. The accommodations might differ for every student, so there cannot be a concrete list. However, allowing students to take part in creating specific accommodations would serve the purpose well. Educating the community about the holiday would also allow others to have a better understanding of Ramadan and be supportive of people who celebrate it.
Not consuming food and water from dawn until sunset is one of the hardest parts of the holiday. Ithaca College must ensure that they have options for Muslim students. The Kosher Korner at the Terraces Dining Hall — a halal-certified food option open until 8:30 p.m. — is not quite enough. The sun usually sets between 7:30 and 8 p.m. during the months of Ramadan, which does not give students much to eat and no other halal options are available after that. However, having an all-night or late-night dining option during Ramadan would help energize students for the next day. To be inclusive, the college must be welcoming toward religious holidays and make sure that the ones celebrating have a joyful experience.