As KDI School has always had a big group of Muslim students, this year at over 70, its students never miss a year in observing Ramadan: one of the Five Pillars of Islam and a worldwide month-long event of the religion.
Zahra, a Spring 2020 MIPD student from Afghanistan, briefly described Ramadan and how they observe it back home:
“It is a month of prayers and thanksgiving for all the blessings you have in life. It is a practice of humanity and sympathy. All families gather together and cook special food, not only for themselves but also to feed the poor. It is believed that by doing so, God will forgive their sins and will give them more blessings.”
She also told us how Eid al-Fitr or the end of Ramadan is being celebrated:
“It is for three days. On the first day, Muslim men will gather in the mosque for a morning prayer then hug and forgive each other afterward. For the rest of the days, we wear new clothes, put henna on our hands and visit our neighbors and relatives. Truly, the happiest days of the year for Muslims.”
Unfortunately, Zahra cannot celebrate with her family this year because of her master’s program at KDI School. Moreover, because of the pandemic, even her family back home cannot observe Ramadan in the traditional way.
Nevertheless, Zahra found her own way of observing her traditions here in KDI School:
“I love that the students are respecting each other’s beliefs and values. It was a new yet nice experience for me. I learned a lot about other students’ culture through their cooking and preparation. Since I had a class on Eid Day, I stayed in the dorm but some friends invited me to try their traditional food.”
Moreover, although KDI School is known for making students feel like they are never away from home, certain measures are being implemented due to the pandemic such as the school not allowing group prayers and the kitchen time was limited only until 11 pm, which caused difficulty for them as they were only eating food at night after fasting during the day.
Nevertheless, although there are no official club activities this year, the still existing KDIS Muslim community led by their representative, Anwar Abdifatah Bashir, made it possible for more than 70 Muslim students to observe Ramadan successfully. Most importantly, with the approval of the school authorities, the kitchen was opened 24/7. “It was then my responsibility to supervise and check whether the kitchen lights and induction cookers are switched off to avoid fire and hazard,” he added.
Also as part of their efforts, the Muslim Club conducted a weekly quiz competition during the Ramadan month. The quizzes were composed of general basic Islamic questions to entertain and educate the community.
“I am very grateful to the school authorities for allowing us the 24/7 kitchen use for one month. I also apologize and say my thanks to the non-Muslim students for their patience as we might be noisy during their sleeping time. It was nice that we are able to invite them as well to join us during the Eid al-Fitr “ Anwar said.
During the Eid al-Fitr, most of the students went out wearing their best dresses and traditional clothes in celebration of the end of Ramadan. Hopefully, next year’s Ramadan in KDI School will be better.