MSA hosts Fast-a-thon to kick-off Ramadan

The Muslim Student Association hosted its annual Fast-a-thon in the Student Center Wednesday night. Ramadan started Tuesday and keynote speaker Imam Mika’il Stewart Saadiq hosted the association’s first official event.

Ramadan is a holy month in the Islamic calendar where practicing Muslims do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. But, they can opt out if they are sick, have a medical condition that prevents you from fasting or are traveling, in which case they can postpone.

“It’s been great,” said Rayvon Williams, a junior majoring in entrepreneurship. “It’s always good to dive into other cultures because at the end of the day everyone has something to bring to the table.”

The festival kicked off with the reciting of a few verses of the Qur’an, followed by Saadiq making a 20-minute speech.

Ramadan consists of three 10-day sections. The first 10 days focus on mercy and reconciliation, the second 10 on seeking forgiveness from God for sins and the last 10 seeking entrance into heaven.

There’s more to it than just not eating all day. It’s also about prayer and reading the Qur’an.

Saadiq explained that Ramadan is the month that God revealed the Qur’an, so that is why people who are practicing Muslims fast. While comparing Ramadan to similar practices in other religions – like Lent in Christianity – Saadiq also sought to debunk myths about the practice.

“Another myth I have to debunk here is that ‘We fast to feel how the poor people feel.’ That’s an insult,” Saadiq said. “It’s an insult coming from a kid who grew up poor... Fasting brings upon those three essential qualities. Empathy in the middle. Empathy is one of them. But it is a reward. The main point of fasting is to achieve self actualization in the three spheres of an individual.”

Saadiq said that the psychological effect of sacrifice and controlling base desires coupled with “the spiritual effect of fasting provides to have more insight and sensitivity and insight into the spiritual world that actually governs things that we can’t see.”

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