Millions of Muslims across the world are currently observing the holy month of Ramadan by abstaining from many worldly needs, including fasting from sunrise to sunset.
Here at Tufts, Ramadan is a time for companionship, especially with many students being far from home.
“Ramadan is really about family and friends, but for many of us taking classes and working in Boston, it is really hard for us to create that sense of community” said University Chaplaincy Student Worker Abdurrahman Abdurrob, one of the many Tufts students in the area this summer.
With Ramadan falling over the summer these last few years, it can be difficult for students on campus to find a community. This year, the University Chaplaincy and the Temporary Muslim Chaplain for Ramadan, Celene Ayat Ibrahim-Lizzio, partnered with the Muslim Student Association to plan weekly community iftars and daily tarawih prayers, which are an essential part of worship during Ramadan. “The University Chaplaincy has not only made space available at the Interfaith Center,” said Abdurrob, “but also the new Ramadan Chaplain Celene Ayat Ibrahim-Lizzio has helped facilitate this whole process wonderfully.”
Each Saturday at 8:30 pm, students and local community members gather together at the Interfaith Center to break their fast, commonly referred to in arabic as Iftar. “This is a very special moment of gratitude and appreciation,” said Abdurrob, “and being able to break fast with others is the essence of Ramadan.” In addition, they meet every night at 10:00 pm to pray tarawih as a congregation, which heightens the sense of community and is highly recommended in Islam during the month of Ramadan.
Ibrahim-Lizzio joins the University Chaplaincy team for the summer while the search for a permanent replacement is conducted. Former Muslim Chaplain, Naila Baloch, served the Tufts community since 2009 and recently accepted a position as the first Chaplaincy Fellow and Muslim Advisor for Middlebury College along with her husband, Beau Scurich. While the month of Ramadan is nearly half way though for this year, the precedent that has been left on the community is one that everyone involved hopes will last for many years to come.