July 14, 2024

The university’s Ramadan accommodations

The Islamic holy month of fasting, Ramadan, is underway and the university is prepared with dining options to accommodate participating students.

Ramadan occurs during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This year, Ramadan began March 10 and will conclude April 9. 

During this month, Muslims are required to fast during daylight hours, eating two main meals each day. 

The first meal is served before dawn and is called suhoor, which is meant to be an energizing meal to help those fasting make it to the next meal. This meal should be substantial to prevent breaking the fast. After suhoor, Fajr time begins, where the first of the five daily Islamic prayers is performed. 

The second meal is served at sunset and is called iftar. Iftar is when Muslims break their fast for the day and can indulge in a meal, typically followed by a visit with friends and family. This meal usually begins with dates and either water or milk.

During Ramadan, Muslims are unable to ingest anything, including food, water, smoke and chewing gum during the fasting time. After breaking the fast at iftar, consumption can resume as normal. 

Fasting (sawm) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, as well as profession of faith (shahada), prayer (salat), alms (zakat) and pilgrimage (hajj). 

Fasting brings Muslims closer to Allah because “through this temporary deprivation, they renew their awareness of and gratitude for everything God has provided in their lives – including the Qur’an, which was first revealed during this month.” 

The practice of fasting increases gratitude because they experience thirst and hunger like those who are less fortunate and serves as an important reminder of the religious duty Muslims have to help.

There are few exemptions from fasting during Ramadan. Children who are prepubescent, menstruating women, travelers, breastfeeding and pregnant women, elderly people and the sick are able to skip fasting. If able, people within these exempt groups will still choose to fast out of religious obligation. 

To ensure there will be dining options that fall within the fasting requirements during Ramadan, the university is providing accommodations.

On the first floor of Blackmore Library, there is a hospitality area with food and drinks that will be available at all times for students to use. Students who are breaking their fasts or need a snack before fasting begins are able to grab anything from this area. This is also an area for students to gather if desired.

Additionally, the university’s executive chef Stephen Meyers has created a new menu for fasting students. This menu has a different meal for each day of the week. 

The menu on Mondays includes chicken shawarma wraps, lentil soup and fresh mixed fruit. Tuesdays feature stuffed bell peppers, tahini salad and bananas. On Wednesdays, rice bowls, chicken, roasted mixed vegetables and fresh fruit are available. Thursdays have grilled salmon, asparagus, roasted Yukon potatoes and fresh fruit available. Fridays’ menu contains Lebanese chicken and rice, hummus, vegetable sticks and apples. 

Additionally, the weekend menus contain potato stew, grilled chicken, zucchini, fruit, Swedish chicken meatballs, egg noodles, broccoli and oranges. 
To order a meal, students can email Meyers at stephen.meyers@aladdinfood.com or Liz Hernandez at liz.hernandez@aladdinfood.com. These meals are to be ordered by 5 p.m. each day and are available for pickup until 9 p.m. in the MDR on weekdays and One Main Café on weekends.

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