By Khaleel Abukhadrah, Co-President of MSU, Class of ’24
From the end of March to the middle of April, the Muslim Student Union (MSU) has been participating in the month of Ramadan. The month of Ramadan is a time when Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset. This month is a time where Muslims relieve themselves of any tensions, stress, or worries, and allow themselves to rejuvenate their physical and mental state to connect with God. It’s a time that makes peace and togetherness obligatory within communities.
However, this need for togetherness isn’t always available to people during this time. Many of the day students who observe Ramadan noticed that some of the Muslim boarders do not participate in some of the traditions that the day students are able to enjoy with their families, so this year, the MSU sought to help enhance the Ramadan experience for the boarders who celebrate this holy month.
MSU hosted evening meals in the Student Center for when the boarders broke their fast. We also hosted a bake sale to raise money for prayer clothing, which many boarders didn’t have. Owning prayer clothing is symbolic in our religion, as it often represents the image of a Muslim. The idea of a community truly began to flourish with these events, and it became apparent that the boarders felt it among themselves.
One Muslim boarder, Ghali Chraibi, said, “During Ramadan, I realized how kind, sympathetic, and generous Montverde Academy’s community can be. The Iftars (evening meals after fasting) kind of united us in a way, and I am truly grateful for that.”
When the month of Ramadan ends, Muslims celebrate through a holiday we call Eid. In usual tradition, Muslims travel to our places of worship called mosques to pray specific prayers called Eid prayers. This symbolizes the end of the fasting period and the beginning of a day where we can eat, drink, and enjoy our time around each other.
In previous years, the Muslim boarders were unable to attend this as Eid is always on a school day. This year, we got permission to take the boarders to the Eid prayers at a local mosque near campus.
Alikhan Kanapiya, one of the Muslim boarders who attended the mosque trip, said, “This year’s Eid was significantly different than last year because we, as boarders, went to a mosque where the people were super kind and welcoming. We had a great time and enjoyed our Eid there. The food was phenomenal: donuts and drinks from Dunkin’ Donuts, fresh dates, etc. Long story short, Alhamdulliah (praise be to God).”
In addition, the Dean of Students office staff and the MSU faculty advisor, Mr. Todd Lamb, met with the dining hall staff to discuss how the dining hall could support the students who were fasting. The dining hall staff did a great job of providing to go meals for the students so they would have food to break their fast after the last daily prayer at sunset, and they also provided them with breakfast before sunrise.
We were able to do these events because of the everlasting support of the school and its community, especially Mr. Lamb (our club sponsor) and Ms. Price, Assistant Dean of Students for Multiculturalism, Leadership, and Student Programs. We couldn’t have given the boarders this experience without their help.