Keeping Up With K

Sophia Gonzalez

This month is especially important for Mr. K as it’s the month of Ramadan. If you have Mr. K as a teacher you would notice that he hasn’t been drinking or eating at all. That is because of Ramadan. He challenged his students to try it for a week and see what it’s like but most of them didn’t know the cultural significance. For this week’s keeping up K he will be answering the most asked questions about Ramadan.

  1. How long is Ramadan celebrated for?
    1. Ramadan is celebrated for 1 month/30 days. It starts during the first sighting of the crescent moon of the month, and ends after one lunar month.
  2. What is the hardest part for you about Ramadan?
    1. For me, the hardest part is trying to practice it in an environment where no one celebrates it. Ramadan is not just about the physical fasting (ex: not eating or drinking whilst the sun is up), but also about the many different emotional aspects. No one else shares this with me or Muslims in general during Ramadan, and it’s kind of sad. Ramadan is about worship, being closer to God, being kind, thoughtful, helping others, donating to the less fortunate, purifying the soul and heart, and overall trying to be a better person. I also try to read the Quran during this month, as many Muslims do, and this is difficult when school is in session. If I were in another country where Ramadan is celebrated, it would be easier to fully fulfill these many things, like prayers for example. There are 5 mandatory prayers in a day for Muslims, and two of those usually happen during the school day, so it’s not really possible to really follow that, but I try to do it as best I can. 
  3. What have you done so far to celebrate Ramadan?
    1. I have just been praying more, listen/read the Quran more, try to focus on being a better person with myself, others, and god. I’ve tried to pray more, do some charity, controlling my emotions and reactions to external stimuli/people, and think of god more. It’s really important to be appreciative of what I have, so constant reminders to myself is really helpful with this. I’m trying to make this year more meaningful to myself, so I recharge my faith and closeness to god as myself as a person so I feel I can continue the rest of the year on a good note. I wouldn’t say that I celebrate Ramadan in a festive sense, as most people might associate the world celebrate, but i think I do observe it.
  4. Is Ramadan just about fasting?
    1. Ramadan is about fasting, but not just about eating and drinking like most people understand. I’ve kind of already explained it in previous questions, but fasting can be also observed by fasting desires, restraining emotions, thoughts, etc. It’s really a time to recharge the mind, heart, and soul in many regards, not just the physical that is mostly seen by others.
  5. How do you fit in praying during the school day?
    1. That is difficult. I try to do it, and sometimes I do get to, but it really is difficult, especially with how busy it is being a teacher. So much goes behind the scenes that students don’t see, so fitting that it is difficult. Not only that, but I am often instructing during these times, so it’s literally impossible. When I can, I’ve tried to get in the habit of doing the prayers I’ve missed at home, and that’s something I’m trying to do during Ramadan, although it isn’t easy.
  6. Do you think the school should be more aware of other religion’s practices?
    1. Yes for sure. I think American’s as a population are ignorant of other religions and customs, which is part of the issue when it comes to acceptance of others. I think if we recognize and have somewhat of an understanding/awareness of other religions, practices, and cultures, we allow ourselves to be more accepting. I’ve met many Americans who are very close-minded, and this never ends well. We live in an open world where everything is known relatively instantly worldwide, and with globalization being so strong nowadays due to social media, we need to have some understanding and respect for others because it is very likely we’ll be interacting with these individuals. So, yes, as an educational institution, we should have some understanding of other religions in order to be better people and more successful.
  7. What does fasting symbolize during this month?
    1. Fasting symbolizes so many things, some of which I’ve explained in previous questions. One can actually fast throughout the year at specific times as well, so it’s not only just experienced during Ramadan. Ramadan is the month when the Quran was first revealed to Prophet Mohamed (PBUH), which is why there is such an emphasis on the Quran during this month. The month of Ramadan symbolizes humility, sacrifice, purification of the soul, heart, and mind, holiness, and peace, which is what the word “Islam” originates. The word “Ramadan/رمضان” in Arabic comes from the word “ramad/رماض” which is kind of like the ashes/coal left over after a burnt fire, meaning this month is a time for one to emphasize performing good deeds to burn away the sins/bad deeds one has accumulated throughout the year.