Photos by Mohammed Salahat
To eat or not to eat: rather than Thanksgiving, Muslim students at Athens celebrate Ramadan
Ramadan is the month of the Islamic calendar during which the Islamic religious text, Holy Quran, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). During this time, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset as a reminder and celebration of their dedication to their faith. Shaikh says, “I look forward to fasting during Ramadan because I learn a lot in this holy month.” Fasting consists not only of abstaining from food and drink, but also abstinence from impurities of character such as foul language, violence, or sexual activity. It is regarded as a reminder of willpower and a show of gratitude for one’s blessings. Shaikh says, “Honestly a month of fasting makes you feel more aware of yourself and your surroundings, It gets you to feel closer to Allah (SWT) and some sort of peace. It also helps you gain patience.”
The day after the final fast of Ramadan is spent in celebration of the month. Fitr, meaning breaking of fast, refers to the end of the month-long fast and a day of feasting and gifting. From charity to gifts to friends and family, Eid-al-Fitr is one of the most important and widely celebrated holidays amongst the Muslim community. Shaikh says, “My family usually goes to Eid prayer in the morning then goes out to eat breakfast. Then the whole family gathers at my uncle’s house, including my family from overseas, where we spend the whole day together and then we eat. The main thing we eat is lamb and rice.” Aside from the celebrations, many Muslims also contribute to charities, a common practice known as giving zakat.