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The Holy Month of Ramadan 2021

April 12, 2021

The Holy month of Ramadan will soon be upon us, and many within our UNC community will embark on spiritual reflection and observe the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan will begin the evening of April 12 in the U.S. and will be celebrated for the next 29-30 days.

Islam, meaning "to submit to God," is the second-largest religion globally, with roughly 1.9 billion Muslim followers. The most concentrated areas of Islam are Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Egypt, Turkey, and Iran. Here in the United States, 7 million Muslims reside, and Mosques are represented in all 50 states.

The Holy month of Ramadan recognizes the event in which Muhammed (the primary prophet of the Islam religion) received the initial revelations of the Quran (The holy text of Islam). Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a lunar calendar compared to the United States' solar calendar. Ramadan signifies the abstinence of eating and/or drinking anything from dawn to sunset. This practice is one of the five pillars of Islam and is complemented by the practice of self-restraint and increased closeness to Allah, or God. Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection, prayer, doing good deeds, and spending time with family and friends.

A typical day during Ramadan begins with a pre-dawn meal known as suhoor, which is followed by a fast for the remainder of the day. Many Muslims carry through their typical daily routine even in a fasted state but may devote more time to prayer and scripture readings. Each day, the fast is broken with a meal known as Iftar and is recognized as a way to come together no matter the distance since most Muslims will break fast together at relatively the same time. The fast is symbolic of the cleansing nature of Ramadan, during which Muslims are to avoid many things thought to be impure. Additionally, it is common to reflect on empathizing with the poor and hungry of the world during the fast.

Let us remember that our students, TA's, GAs, faculty, and staff who observe Ramadan will be fasting during the most stressful time of the academic year. Please acknowledge this and consider appropriate accommodations.

Take Action:

  1. Read Third World Feminism & the Hijab through the PUGS, a student group that provides students with an opportunity to share their work and ideas around Gender, Gender Studies and Culture.
  2. Watch: Five Ramadan Iftar Meals Around the World
  3. Take a moment to read a message from Ruqyah Sweidan, ’20 UNC Alumna
  4. Register for any of the free webinars such as "The Ramadan Series 2021" or "Ramadan Speaker Series."

For additional education and personal development related to diversity, equity and inclusion, please use the following resources: DDEI Education and ResourcesDEI & Antiracism Resources from the UNC Libraries, and the Education Equity Toolkit from the Colorado Department of Higher Education.