What Ramadan is all about

Laura Comstock, OP/ED Columnist

Ramadan this year marks the first time since about a decade ago when the holiday coincided with the school year, and for the next 25 years, Ramadan will coincide with the school year. From May 5 to June 4, members of Bloomsburg University’s Muslim community will fast from sunrise to sunset each day and will have to balance coursework with religious observance.
During Ramadan, Muslim people are highly encouraged to read the Quran and to reflect on religious values. Besides the fact that some students will not be able to cozy up to that midday cup of coffee at Starbucks, the days leading up to Ramadan build a much-needed emotional and religious revival for members of the Muslim community on our campus.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Islamic holiday of Ramadan, here is a breakdown of what Ramadan is:
It’s one of the five pillars of Islam. It’s an obligatory month of fasting from sun-up to sun-down. The month of Ramadan is when Muslims believed the Qur’an was revealed.
Fasting and prayer during this month means that Muslims’ sins will be forgiven, God willing. During the month of Ramadan, the gates of Heaven are open, the gates of Hell are closed and the Devil is chained up.
During the hours of fasting, food, drink, sex, back-biting and smoking are not allowed. It goes without saying that back-biting should not be done outside of the month of Ramadan as well. (Editor’s note: Back-biting can be defined as “malicious talk about someone who is not present.”)
It is required that each Muslim performing the fast be on their best behavior. It is a time when we reflect on life and God and take this time to practice forgiveness and humility. Most Muslims use this month for self-reflection, increased spirituality and self-discipline. The act of fasting also creates empathy for people without food security or access to clean water.
Many Muslims also increase their charitable activities during this time. It sounds overwhelming and hard for many, but we look forward to this month as a time of celebration when communities and families come together.
A very Ramadan Mubarak (Blessed Ramadan) to everyone in our Bloomsburg University community!