NEW HAVEN — Joining about a billion and 800 million Muslims all over the world, US Muslims in Connecticut are preparing to welcome the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which will coincide with final exams for their kids.
“Ramadan comes this year right into the exam season and finals are coming up in June. It’s a concern for our children and families,” Omer Bajwa, director of Muslim Life in the Chaplain’s Office at Yale University in Connecticut, USA, told New Haven Register on May 13.
The Muslim father of a 14-year-old student at Hopkins School allowed his son to fast. In Islamic Shari’ah, fasting during Ramadan is obligatory only after the age of puberty.
Bajwa said his own experience involved practicing sports as a high school student while fasting. “It’s remarkable to see Muslim students balance fasting with involvement on a sports team,” he said.
The director explained that “Ramadan has challenges beyond the physical. It’s a time to think about consumption like food, water, and several vices and also what one consumes with their ‘eyes and ears’.”
A 23-year-old Muslim student, Sakima Hasan, remembers: “my parents gave me the option of fasting from one type of food or drink when I was young as a matter of training how to fast.” She started to fast throughout the daytime when she joined Hill Regional Career High School.
“When I was in middle school, I remember one time my teachers were concerned I wasn’t eating. They didn’t really understand the idea of fasting,” Hasan said.
Instead of having her wait listlessly in the school’s cafeteria, she recalled that the school’s vice principal offered her small odd jobs to do during the period.
Hasan’s cousin, Sajdah Abdul-Karim, senior at Hamden High School, said: “Ramadan is generally not acknowledged as a calendar event, but my teachers were accommodating.”
She further expressed that “there isn’t a tremendous amount of social pressure because fasting is also a ritual within Christianity.”
A Pew survey of Connecticut residents’ religious self-identification in 2014 showed that Muslims represent about 1% of the state’s total population.