The Collegian
Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Muslim community members share how Ramadan is observed at UR

<p>Students from Muslim Life at UR have an iftar dinner hosted by sophmore Amal Ali on March 24. Photo courtesy of Amal Ali.&nbsp;</p>

Students from Muslim Life at UR have an iftar dinner hosted by sophmore Amal Ali on March 24. Photo courtesy of Amal Ali. 

The University of Richmond’s Muslim community is currently observing Ramadan during the holy month of the Islamic calendar, in which participants fast from dawn to sunset.

Muslim communities in Richmond and on the UR campus started observing Ramadan at sundown on March 22. This annual event serves as a time of spiritual reflection, self-discipline and community togetherness, UR Muslim Chaplin Waleed Ilyas said.

The holiday, which lasts for a month, is observed by approximately 1.7 billion people every year, according to World Atlas.

Many events are in store for the holy period on campus, from food to prayer. The Heilman Dining Center will be open until 8:30 p.m. for students that are breaking fast and will serve many meals with halal options, wrote Executive Director of Dining Services Terry Baker in an email to The Collegian. Dining Services will also be giving out breakfast bags for students participating in Ramadan can pick up at Plant Life every night, Baker said. The breakfast bags serve as the suhoor, the last meal Muslims have before dawn and fasting. 

This is many Muslim students’ first time celebrating Ramadan away from home, Ilyas said. However, they can still find a sense of community at UR.

Ilyas said he is continuously impressed by the amount of effort UR puts into celebrating Ramadan and supporting its students that observe the holy month. 

“The University of Richmond has done great to be mindful of our lots of students and helping invest and grow them,” he said.

First-year Sumaya Fawaz has already found the Muslim community at UR to be supportive, she said. This is her first time celebrating the holiday away from home.

Fawaz is thrilled to be celebrating and excited for what the month has to bring. The aspect of praying is particularly important to her, Fawaz said. 

“I really enjoyed [the prayer], and that's really what helps connect me to my faith the most in the entire month,” Fawaz said.

Even though Ramadan is a time of celebration and observance, it can be a difficult time, she said. 

Fasting from sunrise to sunset takes a toll on the energy of the students, and they find it more difficult to complete work and many daily tasks, Ilyas said. In addition to fasting, there are long prayers at night, sometimes ranging from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

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UR will host a community Iftar dinner service at 7 p.m. on April 15 in the Alice Haynes Room of Tyler Haynes Commons, Ilyas said.

Iftar is the name for the dinner at sunset when Muslims break their day-long fast, and this community Iftar is open to everyone, Ilyas said. Ilyas said he would love to see non-Muslim students attend. Iftar is a great time for the Muslim community to get close to each other, as everyone is breaking fast at the same time and living through the same circumstances, he said.

For more information on Ramadan and how you can get involved on campus, contact Chaplain Waleed Ilyas at

Contact news writer Sam Slater at 

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