MSA Prepares for Ramadan at OTHS


Chase DeLellis

Senior Zahrah Jilani prepares for Ramadan with her close family and friends. During Ramadan, she wants to grow closer to her faith.

Baneen Rizvi, Editor in Chief The Nest

As the Islamic month of Ramadan approaches, Muslims all around the world rush to prepare for this holy time of year. Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims throughout the globe as a month of fasting, prayer, and reflection. It is a 30-day period where all Muslims abstain from food or water, from sunrise to sunset, as well as sins, such as using profanity, gossiping, and listening to music. For many, Ramadan is a chance to self-reflect and improve character as well as behavior and develop a closer connection with Allah, God in Islam.

This Ramadan, senior and Muslim Student Association (MSA) president Zahrah Jilani hopes to create a meaningful time of bonding and camaraderie among MSA members. For Jilani, Ramadan is a chance for all Muslims to come together as a community and she plans to incorporate that in MSA’s Ramadan activities and celebrations.

“This year, we are planning on holding a few iftars, writing down our Ramadan goals, holding fundraisers, and getting closer as a team,” Jilani said.

Ramadan has always been a favorite part of Jilani’s year and a time she looks forward to it greatly. She spends the month mostly with her family, and her most memorable experience was opening fasts with them in Ramadan. But Jilani also likes to make time for herself during the days by setting goals to focus on increasing her faith and relationship with her religion. She avoids listening to music, making time for prayer and going to the mosque instead.

“This Ramadan, I plan to spend time getting closer to my faith,” Jilani said. “For example, I’d like to spend more time focusing on prayers and going to the masjid more often. Typically, this month I also like to complete the Quran with English translation.”

Despite the highs, the month also comes with challenges for Jilani. Keeping up with her goals can be an obstacle, but she refrains from giving up. Instead she tries to maintain a positive outlook and set constant reminders to keep her chin up and remember why she is committing to her actions by listening to Islamic lectures and keeping consistent with her goals.

“For me, the most challenging part of Ramadan is abstaining from music, keeping a positive mindset all the time, staying calm, and abstaining from water during the day,” Jilani said. “Instead, I listen to lectures with my headphones and remember who I am doing this for.”

Jilani also likes to keep herself motivated with special traditions she practices with her family. She stresses the importance of having a community, whether it be family or friends during Ramadan. For her, going out to restaurants for sehri or suhoor the meal before beginning to fast, with her family is what she looks forward to the most. For sophomore and MSA’s girls vice president Asma Sami, participating in iftar, the meal that is eaten to open one’s fast, with friends is her favorite part of the month.

“Usually we always go to taraweeh together and we go out either for ice cream or dessert,” Sami said. “Another tradition we have is that every week, one person from my friend group will throw an iftar party on the weekend and it is really fun to see what they set up.”

Ramadan is an important and special time for Muslims around the globe. Whether it be moments spent with friends and family, or making time for self-improvement and spiritual growth, Ramadan is unique in definition to every Muslim. As the month steadily approaches in March, MSA is excited to celebrate this time with the OTHS Muslim community. To attend an MSA meeting, check out their meeting schedules and announcements on their Instagram, @tompkinsmsa .