When the sun sets after a full day of fasting, members of the Muslim community break the fast with Iftar. From 5:20 a.m. to 6:50 p.m., those who participate in the month of Ramadan are fasting not only by not eating and drinking, but also by not committing any other sins such as lying or cheating.
The Muslim students at CSUN hold a Muslim Student Association meeting followed by Iftar every Wednesday during the month of Ramadan. They follow Hijri, the Islamic lunar calendar.
During one meeting, Treasurer Mirand Mavlan and President Zabie Mansoory spoke, reminding those in attendance why Ramadan is important.
“It is a time to give back to the community and not (take) things for granted,” Mavlan said.
The ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar is Ramadan. It is the Holy month for Muslims because it was during this month that the Holy book, the Quran, was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. Muslims are encouraged to use this time for fasting and praying. This year, Ramadan is celebrated by most Muslims from Sept. 23 through Oct. 23. Iftar can be seen as a reward of good faith. Fasting, the third pillar of Islam, is a way to think of those who are less fortunate.
It has spiritual meaning. By not eating, you are getting rid of all the bad things and the Devil is locked up, said Aliya Choudhery, historian of the Muslim Student Association.
The five pillars of Islam include Shahada (belief in one god), Prayer, Fasting, Zakat (charity) and Hajj (pilgrimage).
“It makes you more appreciative and unifies the community,” Choudhery said.
When it is time to break the fast, they do not limit themselves to eating food from the Muslim culture.
It is not encouraged to indulge yourself by eating large amounts of food once it is Iftar time. During Iftar at CSUN last week, Italian food was served.
“There are not specialty foods that are served for Iftar,” said Ali Saleem, CSUN accounting major. “A lot of appetizers are served, like finger foods. Sometimes my mom gets creative and cooks a lot of food.”
During the month of Ramadan, members of the Muslim community try to be more religious by continuing to pray five times a day. Before praying, they need to purify themselves by cleansing their bodies. They wash out their mouths and wash their faces.
“Muslims pray towards Mekka in a clean place,” Saleem said.
The last 10 days of Ramadan are the holiest; this is also the time when the Quran is revealed, Choudhery said.
The end of Ramadan is followed by Eid, a celebration followed by the last day of Ramadan, which includes having a large morning prayer and exchanging gifts in the form of money. Usually Muslims try to get a day off work and school because Eid is a time for families to spend time together.
Those who are a part of the Muslim Student Association pay a $10 fee. This fee will help expand the organization and pay for the food during Iftar.
During the meeting, members from the organization were allowed to speak and express their opinions about different issues that involve the Muslim community.
They discussed the Pope’s controversial statement about how Islam brings about violence and is spread by sword, and they talked about future evens coming up.
Iftar is also a learning experience. Not all of the members at the Iftar meeting knew the dos and don’ts while celebrating Ramadan. One of the members asked if they were allowed to watch television or listen to music during the month-long recognition, which was then discussed. The meeting and Iftar was also a learning experience for those wanting to know more.