An EBHS Insight Into Ramadan
Read about the traditions of 3 Muslim students during Ramadan.
May 6, 2021
Over the past week, I interviewed three Muslim juniors at EBHS: Sima Abu Doush, Basmala Soltany, and Ajab Shakir. We talked about what Ramadan means to them and their favorite parts of this holy month. Scroll down to see their responses!
Q: WHAT DOES RAMADAN MEAN TO YOU? WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF RAMADAN?
SIMA ABU DOUSH: Ramadan is a month where I get to focus and become closer to my religion and remember those who are less fortunate. My favorite part of Ramadan is seeing everyone come together as a whole and participate in this holy month. I really enjoy the time spent with family and the good deeds that are done.
BASMALA SOLTANY: Ramadan is the one month that I look forward to every year. It is a month of gathering of family members and giving back to those in need. It teaches me patience and to feel empathy for others. My favorite part of Ramadan has to be the decorations since it is a tradition in my house to decorate every year. It makes me feel like I am back in my home country where decorations were in every house and street.
AJAB SHAKIR: Ramadan is to celebrate our religion, honor our ancestors, and showcase our tolerance and patience in the world. My favorite part of Ramadan is definitely Eid. I’ve loved Ramadan ever since I was a kid because it’s an excuse to gather up with friends and family and eat our hearts out after we break our fast!
Q: IS THERE ANYTHING YOU MISS ABOUT RAMADAN PRE-COVID?
SAD: Covid has affected many of our lives and made it difficult to complete many of our daily tasks. During Ramadan, Covid has affected how often my family and I got to go to the mosque because there is a limit to how many people can be there.
BS: The one thing I miss most about Ramadan is the gatherings in houses and mosques. Because of Covid and social distancing, I have been seeing less of my friends and family during Ramadan and I wish that could change.
AS: I really miss going to the mosque. I think a huge part of Ramadan is the happiness it brings when you’re able to gather with your loved ones at the end of a long day, to just honor our religion and eat good food! Because of Covid-19, our mosque has been reduced to a max capacity, and unfortunately, with my grandparents and parents at home, I haven’t been able to go out much.
Q: DO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HAVE ANY SPECIAL TRADITIONS FOR RAMADAN OR EID? ARE THERE ANY FOODS YOU LIKE TO COOK?
SAD: During Ramadan, my family and I like to decorate the house with Ramadan decorations that we keep up till Eid. During Eid, we usually get to see family and go out to eat dinner. During Ramadan, we have a special dessert we like to make called Ataif. Ataif are an Arabic dessert usually made from yeasted pancakes stuffed with an aromatic filling of toasted walnuts mixed with cinnamon and sugar. They are gently fried till golden brown and served drizzled with sugar syrup. One of my favorite dishes to have for Iftar is vegetable stuffed grape leaves.
BS: My family has a tradition of making the Egyptian dish Mahshi for the first day of Ramadan. As well as eating dates with milk before Iftar. For Eid, my family makes Eid Biscuits which are homemade biscuits decorated in a special way.
AS: I love biryani on Eid. We usually have a barbecue with my close family and friends but the night of, my grandma makes biryani and it’s the perfect end to Ramadan.
Q: WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WISH NON-MUSLIM PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT RAMADAN?
SAD: One thing I wish non-Muslims knew about Ramadan is the true meaning behind Ramadan and not just see it as a month of fasting.
BS: I wish that non-Muslims knew more accurate facts about Ramadan and the true reasoning behind us fasting, and not only to starve which some people might think and that it is rewarding. That ultimately, Ramadan is also a celebration.
AS: I wish that all people were aware that Ramadan isn’t a forceful month of hunger and fasting isn’t something that’s meant to torture anyone. It’s a beautiful month of religious holidays and it’s meant to teach us the appreciation of what we have. It makes us grateful for what we have around us, in terms of food and people! It teaches us tolerance and the importance of our ancestors’ efforts.
Hopefully these students were able to give you more of an insight about the significance of Ramadan and what it looks like in the EBHS community. Stay tuned for the next chapter, where I go into detail about MY personal experiences with fasting.