The third annual Ramadan dinner was held in Douglass Dining Hall on Nov. 6 at 4:30 p.m.
The event, which was co-sponsored by the Muslim Students’ Association and the Association for the Development of Interest in The Indian Sub-continent, was sold out.
“The turn out was the best Ramadan Dinner has got since it has started three years ago,” sophomore and President of the MSA Abdulla Almarzouqi said. “We sold out and had a lot more students at the doors asking for tickets.”
Almarzouqi was pleased with the event’s turnout. “I was very glad to see such a great number of people attending the dinner,” Almarzouqi said. “The help we got from everyone, especially ADITI, made this event possible.”
Ramadan is the holy month for Muslims all around the world where they fast from sunrise to sunset for the entire month. “The goal in fasting is to try to perfect oneself physically and mentally,” Almarzouqi said.
MSA also sponsored a “Ramadan Fast-A-Thon” event where non-Muslim students were encouraged to fast for a day in order to support local charities.
“The Ramadan Fast-A-Thon is an idea that the Muslim Students Association at Knoxville, TN came up with 3 years ago and has been established as a national MSA event,” Almarzouqi said. “We invited everyone to fast with us, and had businesses donate $1 for every pledge form signed. All the funds went to a charity, FoodLink in our case. This year we had more than 100 pledge forms signed.”
According to Almarzouqi, the main purpose of the dinner and the Fast-A-Thon was to spread awareness about the Muslim faith especially in a post-September 11 world. “The dinner and the Fast-A-Thon helped a great deal in raising awareness for Islam,” he said.
In addition to the dinner, a guest speaker further informed the students of the virtues and values of Islam and of the tradition of Ramadan.
“The speaker, Khalid Abdelqader, is a very knowledgeable person,” Almarzouqi said. “He was recommended to me by our Muslim chaplain. His brief speech about Ramadan and Islam in general, I felt was very informative and interesting.”
Students who attended the dinner enjoyed their experiences. “It was a very educating experience in understanding more about the Muslim culture,” sophomore John Lee said. “Besides, it definitely beats eating ARAMARK food.”
The food was also another big attraction for those who attended. “I thought the food was awesome and I’m glad it didn’t run out like it has in the past, so I was glad,” junior Ben Lin said.
Freshman Zainab Alwan agreed. “I thought the Ramadan dinner was wonderful,” Alwan said. “I also liked how everyone got to take part in the fasting because of the Fast-A-Thon.”
Other students also felt that the prayer at the beginning to break the fast was a worthwhile cultural experience. “I learned a lot from the event, especially the prayer,” sophomore Nachiket Joshi said. “It was good to see MSA’s efforts to show the true spirit of Islam.”
Madhur can be reached at