UTSA student discusses the meaning behind the holy month of Ramadan

Q&A with UTSA student Zoha Rashid highlights cultural practices and feelings

Malaki Lingg, Staff Writer

Ramadan is the ninth month in the holy Islamic calendar. Those who participate do so through fasting, prayer, reflection and community. The beginning of Ramadan is signified for some by local moon sightings, and by the sighting of the moon in Saudi Arabia for others, so the beginning may vary by geographical area. For some began the month on April 2 and for others it began on April 3, and the month will end around May 2. Though millions are celebrating this month, many of us here at UTSA may be unaware or ignorant of Ramadan traditions. UTSA student, Zoha Rashid, was interviewed and gave insight into the holiday and the Muslim community at UTSA.


Q: Could you explain what Ramadan is?

A: “Ramadan is during the holy month as we celebrate and come together to worship Allah and fast meaning no food, no water and prayer. We do this as it teaches Muslims self-discipline, sacrifice, and empathy towards those who are less fortunate and actually have less food.”


Q: What have you been doing to celebrate?

A: “To celebrate, I will come together with family at sunset (Iftaar) time and Sehri time (almost close to sunrise) to eat as we prepare for our stomachs to be full with passion and satisfaction in the completion of our fast. Especially this year since I am away at college, I have been celebrating with my friends or try my best to go home on the weekends to be with the family.”


Q: Has the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at UTSA hosted any related events? 

A: “Yes, inshallah [God willing] this month they will be hosting an Iftaar at one of the restaurants called Dimassi’s and hopefully one collabed with the PSA on campus for students.”


Q: Do you feel that the MSA has had a positive impact on the Muslim student body at UTSA?

A: “Yes, overall I think it has because it helps all the Muslims on campus come together and make them feel included and not alone as college can be hard to adjust to. It has also impacted them by including them in certain events such as showdown and on-campus activities that help the Muslims get involved.”


Q: Has the community here at UTSA made you feel accepted during this time? 

A: “It has, alhamdulillah [praise be to God], I feel like they care a lot and will always provide help or information if needed. It really helped me make friends as well and the social gatherings are fun in general whenever you are bored and have time to go to.”


Q: Is there anything you think UTSA could do to be more inclusive during this time? 

A: “Probably just have more events like Showdown but with just UTSA students. It was really fun.”


Q: Is there anything you’d like people who do not practice Islam to know about the faith and Ramadan? 

A: “I think honestly it is something you should try maybe once in your life. It is a very humbling experience, and you will enjoy every second of it. It is very rewarding and fun when you do it with others and overall something people should learn to do since world hunger is growing by the day and is a problem to this day. Islam teaches you so much about being a good person overall and having faith in Allah as he will guide you and make it easier for everyone, inshallah!”

For those interested in learning more or keeping up with events going on this month, you can follow the Muslim Student Association (MSA) Instagram account, @MSA.UTSA. Ramadan Mubarak! رَمَضَان مُبَارَك