The UCLA Muslim Student Association hosted its annual End of the Year banquet May 31 with people of different backgrounds gathering to break a fast at exactly 7:59 p.m.
Fasting, one of the five pillars of Islam, is regularly observed by Muslims during the month of Ramadan. Those observing are required to refrain from drinking or eating anything from sunrise to sunset as part of their fast.
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is also believed to be the month in which the Quran, or the Islamic holy book, was revealed to Mohammed.
MSA also held a Fast-a-Thon event at Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday in which non-Muslim students were able to partake in the experience of fasting in the hopes of challenging misconceptions they had. Many students at the event were also able to experience an iftar, or the meal that breaks the fast, for the first time.
Students assemble to pray the Maghrib prayer, signifying the end of the fasting period.
''Ramadan Mubarak'' directly translates to ''generous Ramadan'' and is a phrase used as a greeting during the month.
First-time faster Robert Watson described his fasting experience as humbling. The first-year political science and economics student said he expected his day to be tougher than usual, but was able to appreciate the devotion people from different faiths practice.
Steven Shao, a third-year biology student, fasted for the first time on the same day as a final. Shao said he expected his day to be harder, but kept up a positive mindset.
Abdulhaadi Khan, a fourth-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student, said he believes the Arabic word hamd is one of the main purposes of Ramadan. Hamd means to give praise, usually to Allah, the Arabic word for God.
Sabrina Khan, a first-year life sciences student, not only said that fasting is useful for mental and spiritual cleansing, but also that Ramadan is useful for physical detoxing.
Amber Latif, a fourth-year biology major, believes people should not alter their schedules for more restful days and easy fasts, but should engage in the challenge Ramadan presents.
''The best way to clear any misconception is by strong communication within (the) Muslim community, (and other communities as well),” said second-year political science student Ali Rehman. He said he associates Ramadan with cleansing of society from selfishness, anxiety and hatred.
Zaid Ali, a first-year history student, uses each day of Ramadan to spiritually cleanse. He said this means he spends his day reflecting on his choices, focusing on praying five times a day, trying to read the Quran regularly and learning more about Islam.
First-year political science and history student Hanna Almalssi fasts during Ramadan because she believes it is an overall humbling experience. She also said that by fasting, people demonstrate to Allah the length they’ll go for devout worshipping.