Around the world this May and June, many Muslims will be observing Ramadan. For many students at Bristol, this could be their first time fasting at university or, more significantly, fasting during an exam period.
One of the Five Pillars of Islam is to fast and during the month of Ramadan Muslims, who are able to, refrain from food and drink during daylight hours. However, more than just this, Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection and strengthening our powers of self-control.
O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn self-restraint. -Quran (02:183)
Fasting during such an important academic period needs to be approached wisely. It is important for meals to be planned ahead of time and, despite the difficulty of waking up at odd hours, it is vital that suhoor (the morning meal) is not missed. Fasting students should keep allowing time for rest and revision breaks. Physical activity should be kept light, especially in the sun we’ve been graced with all of a sudden. Then, when the time comes to break the fast, it should be done with a substantial and nutritious iftar (the sunset meal).
During the hours of eating, water should be drunk regularly to prevent dehydration. Recommended foods include those rich in complex carbohydrates, protein with a good intake of fruit and vegetables to maintain energy levels. However, for those fasting, know if and when to stop. Fasting is to be practised in good health and if the stress of exams is adversely affecting your physical or mental health, fasting may not be necessary or beneficial for you. Be aware that extenuating circumstances may apply to you, more information on this can be found on your university school or faculty website.
Allah intends for your ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. -Quran (02:185)
For those observing Ramadan, being away from home can be difficult, fasting is made a lot easier when done together in a family or community. So amongst sunny days and end of year celebrations, take the time to engage with other fasting students and make full use of the facilities available around the university to make this month all the more rewarding.
Taraweeh prayers will be held at the Assahaba Centre Mosque (135-137 Cheltenham Road, Bristol, BS6 5RR). Assahaba will also be offering a free iftar at its premises- perfect for revising students too busy to organise meals. For those looking to go with a group of people to Assahaba, next year’s Islamic Society president, Shakil Khan, will be leaving with a group of students from outside the Arts and Social Sciences Library 20 minutes before maghrib every day until the 7th of June to go the Assahaba Centre.
There are also general prayer spaces around the university:
The Bristol University Islamic Society will also be breaking fast together:
For more information on any of the above feel free to get in contact with anyone from the University of Bristol Islamic Society: www.facebook.com/brisoc, www.facebook.com/groups/brisoc, and to have your uCard activated to gain access to the Muslim prayer room contact: email@example.com.
You can also apply for extenuating circumstances by filling out the form to let the University know you are observing Ramadan during assessment period.
Please inform your personal tutor and feel free to contact Bristol SU’s Just Ask team, the confidential advice service here: http://www.bristolsu.org.uk/advice-and-support.
Ultimately, Ramadan subsists as a time for spiritual reflection, self-restraint, charity and togetherness. With the long British days ahead, be sure to support your Muslim brothers and sisters in reaping the benefits of the holy month, fasting like a pro and acing those exams!