If you ask many HSC students, one of the hardest parts of learning is having to retain mass information for exams.
ISRA’s Studies of Religion Team aimed to make this learning a little bit easier by inviting students across New South Wales to experience first-hand a Ramadan iftar and to learn more about fasting and Ramadan by Muslims.
On the 1st of June 2017 ISRA, in conjunction with the Association for Studies of Religion and Santa Sabina College, hosted their first iftar for Studies of Religion students and teachers. Around 165 students and teachers gained insight and first-hand experience of Ramadan with Muslims. Santa Sabina College hosted the event in Strathfield.
The aim of the night, ‘A Taste of Ramadan’ was to allows students to experience and understand more about Ramadan and how Muslims break their fast and pray, while also allowing them to meet interact with Muslim students.
Students and teachers heard from Keynote Speaker, Tamkin Ansari on the ‘Essence of Ramadan’ as she discussed the spiritual significance of Ramadan and how, contrary to public belief, Muslims truly look forward to the month of Ramadan. In addition to Tamkin, Dana Alhatu and Zacharia Kaake gave personal reflections on what Ramadan meant to them, allowing students to see intimate views, as opposed to relying on a textbook to understand this important month.
An excerpt of the Qur’an was recited that focused on Ramadan, as well as a Ramadan supplication and the adhan. Muslim guests also joined in a congregational Maghrib (evening) prayer to demonstrate how Muslims pray.
For many of the students, it was the first time they had experienced traditional Afghan dinner and with a traditional Arab baklava for dessert. The overwhelming response to the night was positive. Many students spoke during floor reflection time, saying how much they’d benefitted from the night and emphasising the need for greater dialogue between communities.
A special thanks to Helen Smith from Santa Sabina College and all the staff and students who helped set up and clean up, as well as the Association for Studies of Religion for their help and support in running the event.