Students break fast and learn about Ramadan at Interfaith Iftar

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Students break fast and learn about Ramadan at Interfaith Iftar

Students talk to one another before breaking fast.

Students talk to one another before breaking fast.

Xavier Ortega / The DePaulia

Students talk to one another before breaking fast.

Xavier Ortega / The DePaulia

Xavier Ortega / The DePaulia

Students talk to one another before breaking fast.

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Members of United Muslims Moving Ahead (UMMA) at DePaul participated in an iftar in honor of Ramadan on Tuesday.

UMMA is DePaul’s Muslim student association. Throughout May, they will be holding celebratory events in honor of Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The holiday celebrates the first revelation of the Quran to the Islamic prophet.

The appearance of the crescent moon signals both the beginning and the end of  Ramadan.

The observation of Ramadan is recognized as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, rules fundamental to the religion.

A major component of Ramadan is fasting from dawn to sunset. The purpose of the fast is to redirect the body and soul away from worldly activities in order to cleanse the soul. Muslims also abstain from sex and otherwise sinful behavior during this time.

An additional purpose is to teach Muslims better self-control and to increase their empathy for those who are less fortunate. This is done in the hope of inspiring more generosity and charitable behavior.

Those who are menstruating, pregnant, breastfeeding, severely ill or traveling are exempt from the fast.

Those who miss the fast must make up the missed days once they are able.

The pre-fast meal is called the suhoor and the fast is broken at sunset with a meal, or iftar.

Students gathered in the Student Center, eating from a buffet of choices to break the fast.

Students also engaged in a prayer during the festivities. It is customary of iftars to include the Maghrib prayer the fourth of the five main daily prayers. Following the prayer, the main meal is typically served.

UMMA previously celebrated Ramadan with an interfaith iftar on May 8. Future celebrations include an additional iftar on May 23 and a barbecue in celebration of Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, on June 7.