By Rachel Siford and Rena Thomas
Baasil Shariff sits in class, bored, and suddenly the hunger hits him. He snaps at someone, apologizes, “Sorry, I’m just hungry.” For Shariff this hunger, although uncomfortable, changes his mindset of the world and makes him appreciate what he has.
He and the Muslim Student Association participated in a voluntary fast for charity this past Monday in the Student Activities Center.
The MSA raised $861 for victims of war in Syria, 480 from the Fast-a-Thon alone, the MSA treasurer Shariff said.
Ahman, Vice President of the Muslim Student Association (MSA), helped plan a Fast-a-Thon to raise money for their cause. The Fast-a-Thon was a voluntary fast, where participants do not eat from dawn till dusk.
“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but true righteousness is in one who believes in Allah,” Verdah Ahman read from the Quran in front of about 30 students.
Ahman explains the difference between obligatory fasts and voluntary fasts. The obligatory fasts are done during the month of Ramadan, which is 30 days. There are also voluntary fasts.
“In Islam fasting, is a sort of worship,” Ahman said. “You can fast any time that you want.”
Dean of Students Timothy Ecklund was invited to the event by the MSA to be their keynote speaker.
“I was asked to be here, this is an event that was at a time when I just started here and they were one of the first organization to ask me to speak, so I feel a certain kinship,” Ecklund said.
The Fast-a-Thon comes from the Five Pillars of Islam: Declaration of Faith, Obligatory Prayer, Compulsory Giving, Fasting in the month of Ramadan and Pilgrimage to Mecca. The pillars are is the basic framework Muslims try to abide by.
“Fasting during the Ramadan is one the five pillars of Islam. It means not eating, drinking, smoking, having sexual intercourse during the day, from sunrise to sunset,” Executive Secretary and Director NISIS ad interim Petra de Bruijn said. Praying is also one of the five pillars of Islam. They have to pray 5 times a day. There are some special prayers on the days of the most important feast and there are special prayers for special occasions, when you missed a prayer of want to do something extra.”
Ahman and her cohorts organized food to be delivered to the SAC for all those who fasted all day long. There was a suggested donation of five dollars at the door.
“Muslims tend to fast on Monday and Thursdays because that is when Muhammad fasted,” Ahman explained. “If you want to do voluntary fasts, you should do it during these days. Today we started at 6 in the morning and you can start eating at 5:54 at night, so it was until dawn to dusk.”
Ecklund also added how he did not fast this time, but next time he will and reflected on his first impression of the MSA.
“It was a wonderful program that the Muslim Student Association, invite other students to fast along with them during the day and contribute to help other organizations.,” Ecklund said. “It’s a great sign of what we do as Seawolves”