During Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims around the world partake in fasting from dawn until sunset.
“Ramadan is a time of joy, spending time with one’s family, and giving charity to those in need,” said Theresa Rajack-Talley, vice-provost of equity & inclusion at Dalhousie, during last week’s virtual Ramadan Iftar event.
Iftar is the fast-breaking meal after sunset at the end of Ramadan. And last Thursday, May 21, the Dalhousie community and family and friends around the world joined together for a virtual Ramadan Iftar.
A joint effort between Dal Connects, Residence, the Muslim Students’ Association, Dal Security, Human Rights & Equity Services and the International Centre, the event’s organizing committee took great care to make sure Muslim community members — both on and off campus — felt supported and celebrated this year.
A change of plans
Last year, almost 300 people gathered together in person on campus to participate in an Iftar feast, marking the first large-scale Ramadan event for the Muslim community at Dalhousie. This year, because of the circumstances created by COVID-19, the event went online.
“The fact that you have all re-envisioned this event, and adapted to these challenges we are all facing around us, shows the commitment of our community, and the ingenuity of the event organizers,” remarked Deep Saini, Dalhousie president, during last Thursday’s event.
Despite being virtual this year, there was still widespread participation from the community. The event included greetings by members of the Dalhousie Muslim Students’ Association and the DSU, prayers livestreamed from the Ummah Masjid (Mosque) and Community Centre in Halifax, and remarks from Imam Mohamed Yaffa. And to cap it all off, there was fun and educational Ramadan trivia, moderated by the event’s host and Dalhousie student, Abdullah Al Mukaddim.
Eating together, sharing together
Since participants couldn’t break the fast in same physical space this year, event organizers arranged for Chef Abod — a local Muslim caterer — to provide pre-packaged meals to students and support staff in residence. Food was safely delivered to Risley Hall before the event so everyone could break the fast together at sunset.
Photos of the food delivery — made possible, safely, thanks to the work of Dal Security, Dal Safe Ambassadors and members of Dal's Residence team.
Dalhousie’s Muslim students and community members also took time this year to create a video, which included well-wishes to their family and friends, and answered questions like “What does Ramadan mean to me?” The video is available below for viewing and sharing.