Kareem is a Muslim student who believes in the benefits of fasting for the holy month of Ramadan.

“This is a chance for all of us to do good deeds because the rewards for good deeds are multiplied during Ramadan,” he said.

Many Muslim UW students broke bread together in the Mathematics and Computer (MC) building at the First Iftar of Ramadan hosted by the UW Muslim Student Association (UW MSA) on May 9.

On the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan, adult Muslims are required to fast all days from about dawn to sunset.

“Ramadan is a special month   — that’s when [the] Quran started descending on prophet Mohammad — and we celebrate or honour that month by special ritual, which is fasting,” Kareem, who attended the event, said.

During the fasting hours, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, engaging in any sexual relation and some other activities.

“The whole point of Ramadan is to gain closeness to Allah because we abstain from things that are usually permissible for us, e.g., eating, drinking, and any kind of sexual desire with the legal partner, which are totally allowed under the Islamic relics, we would be able to abstain from other things which aren’t allowed in the Islamic relics,” Leyla, another student attendee, said.

Many people believe that fasting is something beyond hunger and thirst. It can be a practice to soften the believer’s heart and fortify their morality.

“During the fasting, you are supposed to control your anger and be gentle with others,” Zuhair, another Muslim student at the Iftar event, said.

He explained that fasting during the 30 days of Ramadan is long enough to acquire new habits and strengthen one’s relationship  both with God as well as your community.

“Fasting can also bring you self-discipline,” Kareem said. “If you can stop eating and drinking and if you can make it through the entire month, then there is nothing that can stop you from achieving your goals in general”.

Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan for a single day, Eid Al-fitr, which is one of the most important events in Islamic calendar.

The UW MSA will be hosting second and third Iftar on May 14 and May 16 respectively.

For more information about Ramadan or the next Iftar gathering, visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/msawaterloo/events/?ref=page_internal.