St George’s, University of London is proud of its diverse community and this month, many students and staff will be participating in Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims. Ramadan begins when the full moon is seen, this year around 16/17 May, signifying the beginning of a new lunar month.

Ramadan

calendar-icon 21 May 2018

Here, Redwan Hayat, third-year Medicine student and President of the Islamic Society, explains how students continue their studies while also observing the religious festival.

What is the significance of Ramadan for Muslims?

“Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar and for its duration, we abstain from 'worldly pleasures', fasting from dawn till dusk in order to grow spiritually and mentally. Fasting teaches us resilience and self-discipline, as we have to exercise self-control, not only from abstaining from food but from other discouraged behaviours such as, getting angry and using foul language. We also increase in other acts of worship that also help us grow closer to God.”

How will those observing Ramadan prepare for exams, and what measures do Muslim students take to continue their studies while fasting?

“On the warmer days, we stay in cooler areas to prevent dehydration and make sure we drink plenty when we are permitted to. We also make sure to eat proper nutrient-rich meals in the morning to give us enough energy to continue working during the day. Some people prefer to work on their own, and take small naps in between to keep themselves going, while others will prefer to work in small groups as it may help keep the energy going.”

Aside from fasting, what else does Ramadan involve?

“Ramadan is a lot more than just refraining from drinking and eating during the day. We are encouraged to be more charitable, not only with our money but also in our actions. Even small actions, such as helping someone onto the bus, visiting the sick and helping your neighbours, have a great impact.

“There is also an atmosphere of caring for one another, as during the month we hold many get togethers and families all help out to prepare for the breaking of the fast. Afterwards, we go for Tarawih prayers, night congregational prayers that are specific to Ramadan.”

How does a typical day of university life vary for a Muslim student during Ramadan?

“Those fasting will need to ensure they have schedules that are dependent on their revision habits and the times that they are most productive. Some will stay awake from dusk after their first meal, when they are most fresh in the morning while others may work better at night. For some, it’s business as usual and fasting doesn’t really change their revision habits so it all depends on the individual! It’s important to figure out what works and to stick to it.

“During this month, Muslims still go about their daily lives, ie. going to study/work. However, we are more aware of our time, aiming to waste less and maximise our efficacy while working. There is normally a well thought-out study plan in place in order to ensure that we get an adequate amount of sleep, while still leaving enough time to split between revision and worship. We also spend more time in the multi-faith room praying, reading the Quraan, our holy book, and reflecting upon ourselves.”

Does the Islamic Society have any plans to celebrate Eid al-Fitr at St George’s? If so, are staff and students invited to take part?

“Most students tend to go back home to spend Eid with their families and for those who aren’t able to, they are often invited to join family celebrations by their peers and friends. The Islamic Society will also be holding iftaars (meals to break the fast) during the month of Ramadan on campus - students and staff are welcome! If you would like more information or have any questions, you can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..”