With the words “Allahu Akhbar” hundreds of Hoyas, including 260 non-Muslims, broke their fast with dates and water on the Leavey Esplanade yesterday, marking the end of Wednesday’s Fast-a-thon.
photo by Michael Keller
The event raised money for charity and, in the words of organizers, strove to encourage religious dialogue on campus.
The sundown snack, sponsored by the Muslim Students Association, took place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and gave non-Muslims a chance to abstain from food or drink for a day and participate in a traditional Ramadan breakfast and dinner.
“We had an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response,” Fast-a-thon co-chairwoman Nimrah Karim (COL ‘07) said.
Over 300 students signed up, surpassing MSA’s original estimate of 200. Karim said she hoped participating students learned the lessons of Ramadan, including self-restraint and solidarity with the hungry.
Fast-a-thon participants also gave back to the poor in a more tangible way. For each fasting non-Muslim student, local businesses, including Popeyes, House of Kabob and East West Grill, pledged $1 dollar to So Others Might Eat, a Washington charity serving the homeless.
“We raised around $1,000,” Fast-a-thon co-chairwoman Haniya Masud (COL ‘07) said.
While many students at Fast-a-thon were experienced fasters, some first-time participants had problems.
“You definitely miss the food,” said Eric Stam (COL ‘10), who said he participated “in solidarity with people who go hungry everyday.”
Ramadan represents the month Muslims believe God gave Muhammad the Koran. As one of the five pillars of their faith, Muslims are required to abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset every day during Ramadan.
According to Nimrah Khan, fasting during Ramadan is the only pillar of Islam that isn’t visible to other people. “That is the true test of faith,” she said.