Reihan Ifham said she felt a sense of belonging and togetherness we she attended the Humber Muslim Student Association’s first-ever Iftar dinner Monday night.
“Ramadan is completely about family; it’s completely about breaking fast with your family and spending time with them,” Ifham said.
The first-year Bachelor of Marketing student was one of 75 students to attend the dinner, held at the Lakeshore campus.
Organizers with the Muslim Student Association (MSA) set up tables with chairs, prayer mats and a food station, hoping to create a nostalgic feeling for those students who couldn’t be with family during Ramadan.
Ifham told Humber News she had a hard time making friends as her first semester was online and she could not speak to her peers in person.
“When I came here, I found people just like me and it’s helpful because you get a sense of family,” Ifham said.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During this month, Muslims have a strict daily fast from dawn to sunset, as they cannot eat or drink water during the daylight hours. The fast is broken at sundown with a meal called Iftar, often shared among family and friends.
Layan Ghannam, a first-year student and one of the event’s organizers told Humber News that events like Iftar Ramadan are important to Humber College’s community because it educates individuals about the importance of her religious faith.
“It’s to show people how welcoming our religion is, and how accepting we are and not like critical as much they think it is,” she said.
Ghannam told Humber News she was surprised and excited to see other females in hijabs together in a room as it created community.
“What I went through, they also went through. I wasn’t alone, so I was able to talk to them, and they understood how I felt. It was fulfilling,” she said.
MSA set up plates of dates on each table for its students who joined the event. At sunset, as Iftar took place, a member of the MSA executive said a prayer and the students were able to break their fast with a plate of fruits and samosas.
The meal’s main course was chicken biryani.
Michael Erikson, a first-year Hearing and Instrumental student, told Humber News that he has been Muslim for four years and is looking forward to more events like this.
“It’s important to connect with brothers and sisters at Humber,” Erickson said. “Ramadan is a month for us Muslims with our community; we gather together, we eat food together.”
Students like Fatimah Elsibai, a final-year Bachelor of Nursing student, told Humber News that it’s important for other students who are not of the religious faith to be aware of what’s going on around them.
“I know it’s so easy for you to almost, in a sense, have tunnel vision, like we’re all so busy with our lives, we’re all focused on the things we’re involved in,” she said.
“But I think once you look outside and beyond and you see the other things that people have going on, whether it would be religious, culturally, just like different things that are going on in the world. It’s so important because it gives you perspective and it helps you understand the people around you and their lived experiences,” Elsibai said.
She also told Humber News her religious faith is important because it brings her community.
“Reflecting back on that now, having that sense of community around me it’s just so much more beautiful to be able to connect with people around you and having that support,” she said.