HLS Celebrates Ramadan

BY HUGO TORRES

The HLS Muslim Law Students Association (MLSA) sponsored a Ramadan dinner this past Thursday in the Harkness Commons that was attended by over 60 students, faculty, staff, and members of the community.

“Ramadan is a time for Muslims to refocus on the spiritual aspects of their lives,” said Sadaf Abdullah, a member of MLSA. “Muslims fast during the daylight hours to teach themselves self-restraint and patience, and to allow them to focus on spiritual needs rather than physical wants. Muslims also increase their charitable giving and pray more during this month.” During Ramadan, Muslims are expected not only to fast from food from sunrise to sunset, but also to work hard to avoid transgressions of any sort.Ramadan is an annual celebration marking the month when the Qur’an, the holy book for Muslims, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. “At the end of the month there is a celebration called Eid-ul-Fitr, which Muslims celebrate as one of the two major holidays of the year,” said Abdullah.

Abdullah believes HLS is receptive to the needs of Muslim students. “Usually Muslim students structure their own lives to accomodate the requirements of praying and fasting during Ramadan,” said Abdullah.

“The administration is quite open to accomodating us. For example, the Dean of Students Office has co-sponsored our annual HLS Iftar a number of times, and Dean Kagan has attended both last year and this year.” Mohammed Shaheen, a 2L, agrees.

“It’s a sense of being able to represent the community needs,” noted Shaheen, pointing out that the celebration of Ramadan on campus is an example of the diversity of the student body. “When you come to a place like Harvard, you have a diverse crowd.”Shaheen appreciates the “sense of brotherhood” that comes from having such events on campus. “We try to make it so it’s part of the HLS program,” said Shaheen.

Abduallah was pleased with the turnout, particularly by non-Muslim students. “There is so much ignorance out there about Islam and Muslims, and I am impressed by the people that took the initiative to come to an iftar and educate themselves,” said Abdullah.

“I hope they learned about fasting and what that entails, and especially about the purpose of it. I also hope they see commonalities between some of the practices in Islam and practices in other faiths.”

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