Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Muslim students share perspectives on Ramadan

Young He
People gather at the Nueces Mosque, preparing to break their fast on Monday. Their fast is broken with dates and water, a common practice among Muslims.

Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, marks a time of year when over 1 billion Muslims worldwide practice fasting from sunrise to sunset to strengthen their self-discipline and relationship with Allah. In West Campus, Nueces Mosque serves as a place for students to connect with their faith and community, especially during Ramadan. 

As a safe space, student-run Nueces Mosque provides Suhoor and Iftar meals every day during the month. Hundreds gather at the student-run mosque daily to take part in religious lectures and break their fast together. 

For Malaika Beg, health and society sophomore and Nueces Mosque hospitality director, taking part in Ramadan at the Mosque proves an important part of connecting with other Muslim students. 

“Nueces Mosque is off campus, but it’s in your heart,” Beg said. “(At) Nueces we have Iftar every night. On campus, it is hard to pray (because) there’s not many prayer spots, but (people) can always come here. We have a community that is more than open arms for anyone, even non-Muslims who just want to see and learn about Ramadan.” 

When thinking about how Ramadan helps her grow, Beg said she reflects on how the holiest month of the year helps her develop self-discipline that contributes to her academic success. 

“When you’re fasting, you’re not only restraining from food and water,” Beg said. “It’s a lot of different things like gossiping, backbiting and pornography. That’s what Ramadan shows. If you can do all that for 30 days, you are capable of so much. I apply that in my academics like, ‘Okay, I’m capable of doing well in school.’”

Neuroscience junior Rida Shehzad said because of the proliferation of misconceptions about Ramadan, she feels non-Muslims should take steps to better educate themselves about Islam.  

“Students at UT should just take any chance they get to learn more about it as they should about any faith they come across,” Shehzad said. “But since there’s a whole month, I think there’s a lot of opportunity (to do so) and I know most of us are more than willing to have those discussions.”

Shehzad reiterated the importance of community in her experience of taking part in Ramadan and said she never really felt that sense of community until she found the Nueces Mosque. 

“I can’t imagine doing Ramadan alone,” Shehzad said. “I think it empowers Muslims to grow even more, maybe more than they would have if they went without community.”

Chemistry freshman Sameer Hussain reflected on family traditions during the Eid Al-Fitr celebration, which concludes the month of Ramadan. 

“After we go to the masjid to pray in the morning on Eid, it is our tradition to go get Torchy’s, and we’ll get like 25 breakfast tacos,” Hussain said. “We’ll have a huge morning feast before we go to people’s houses (to celebrate).” 

Additionally, Hussain said it’s important for Ramadan to not just center around gathering with family and Muslim friends but also to see non-Muslim people supporting their Muslim friends.

“I have a white friend that comes with me to Suhoor Fest,” Hussain said. “It’s really nice to see him there. I know he supports me as a Muslim — he puts on a thobe and he’ll walk around with me getting burgers and brisket sandwiches at three in the morning.”

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