Thirty days of no eating, drinking, smoking and sex between sunrise and sunset. That’s life for many Muslim students during Ramadan, the month of fasting that starts on Monday. And this year it promises to be tougher than ever.
Because Ramadan follows the lunar calendar, it never falls on the same date but begins a couple of days earlier each year. According to Islamic teachings, Ramadan starts as soon as the new crescent moon appears in the heavens. And this year it falls in June, the month with the longest days and therefore the hardest month in which to fast.
Many EUR students will also be observing Ramadan. How are they experiencing this month?
Yusuf Çakmak (28), Business Economics student
“With this warm weather, it will be a lot tougher to fast and it will not be easy to focus on your studies because you’ll be constantly thirsty. In the evenings I’ll therefore have to drink more than usual. From experience I know that the first couple of days are the toughest, but that you get used to it after that. I’m really happy I can participate in Ramadan. During Ramadan I distance myself from my sins. In this month I try to avoid bad things, like insulting people. Ramadan proves that the religion brings out people’s good qualities, like self-control. That’s something that the media, when they write about Islam, don’t focus on nearly enough.”
Senem Oylum (21), Psychology student
“I don’t look forward to this period. For one thing, I’m always suffering from stomach trouble during Ramadan. Normally, my tummy gets upset if I eat 30 minutes later than usual. Still, I never have problems with my studies in this period. I believe I received a special gift from God. He gave me patience so that I can make it through the fasting and concentrate well on my studies. I will be fine even with this warm weather. I am convinced that I can come closer to God this month. Not only by fasting, but also by restraining myself. For example, I won’t use any ugly language or get myself angry. My fellow students really admire me, and they tell me they could never do it themselves. They often ask me, with a pitying look, whether I can’t even drink a little water or have some chewing gum.”
Omar Gamal (22), Media & Communication student
“I’m skipping the first two days because I need to work on my thesis. To be working on a thesis for the entire day on an empty stomach would be extremely tough, especially in this warm weather. God also said that fasting should not be at the expense of everything, and you can catch up on fasting days missed another time. In the last two days of Ramadan I’m going to my family in Egypt. Ramadan really is a family occasion. And everyone expects you to participate in the fasting. But, at the end of the day, it’s about you, it’s something between you and God. During this holy month, people in my country always donate a lot to good causes and they give money and food to the homeless, for example. It really is a time of giving. I’ve noticed that other students around me really encourage and support me. They think it’s wonderful that I practice my religion.”