Muslims honor holy month with fast

By By Jenna Miller

By Jenna Miller

When Nura Samatar turned 15, her life changed forever when her first Ramadan8212;a time of not only fasting, but also giving8212;began.

For Muslims, once members turn 15 years old, they are required to fast during the month of Ramadan8212;the ninth month following the lunar calendar8212;for 30 days from sunrise to sunset. They also attend a nightly prayer held until midnight.

“This is a time where we can celebrate our holy month and we can feel close to God,” said Samatar, a junior in pre-nursing.

In honor of Ramadan, the Muslim Student Association of the University of Utah held its 10th annual Fast-A-Thon on Wednesday evening.

The MSAUU consists of more than 300 members, approximately 250 of whom were in attendance. The MSAUU invited religions outside of Islam to participate in the Fast-A-Thon, which included dinner, slide shows, speeches and recitations of sacred Muslim scriptures.

Among the different denominations in attendance were Catholics, Latter-day Saints and nondenominational Christians. The participants, Muslim or not, were given the opportunity to fast for the day, and in doing so, local Muslim businesses sponsored them to raise money to fight malaria in Mali. The money raised will be donated to Islamic Relief, which for every $10, provides an insecticide-treated bed net for protection against malaria-carrying mosquitoes, as well as provides medicine to treat patients who already have the infection.

It’s that kind of charity and sacrifice that those in attendance felt defines their month of fasting.

“The Ramadan is all about purifying yourself and being the best person you can be,” said Najib Amiri, MSAUU president and a senior in genetics. “That is why businesses are sponsoring in the Islamic Relief.”

The MSAUU still has 12 days to fast following the Fast-A-Thon.

“Our goal in doing the Fast-A-Thon is to raise awareness and funding that people need our help and are not as fortunate as we are in materialistic things,” Amiri said.

Mike Mangum

The Muslim Student Association held the 10th annual Fast-A-Thon on Wednesday evening in honor of Ramadan. Students from all religions joined in.

Mike Mangum

Muslims pray before having the feast. Typically they will pray for charity and strength to sacrifice, among other things.

Mike Mangum