CAIRO - An annual event has brought together Muslim and non-Muslim students at Eastern Michigan University to fast a day in an effort to get a better understanding of Islam and the holy month of Ramadan.
I thought I was going to be really drained, but I actually had a lot of energy, Waleed Baker, president of Eastern Michigan University's Muslim Student Association, told Eastern Eco.Maybe because of the excitement of the event.
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Muslim students at the university held an event to help non-Muslim colleagues understand the meaning of fasting in Ramadan.
The event, themed Fast-A-Thon, aimed at introducing the true meaning of fasting ahead of Ramadan, which falls in July this year.
Guest speaker Ali Suleiman Ali pointed that Ramadan fasting was not limited to the meaning of abstaining from food and drinks.
It's to abstain from everything, Ali said.
Drinking, eating, physical relationships from dawn until sunset for the sake of God.
Ali said that fasting should not be thought of as a weight loss program.
Every deed is for yourself, but fasting is for God, he added.
MSA Brothers' Events Coordinator Jamil Khalid said he was excited to hear that fasting is a discipline to control certain desires people have, which is something everyone could learn even outside of the religion.
He said he would like to see an event that compares Islam to Christianity to encourage students from all over to learn about similarities between the two faiths.
You have to open up the gate to catch their attention and invite them to events, Khalid said.
If you keep doing Islamic activities or events, it will broaden the learning curve for non-Muslims and Muslims.
The Fast-A-Thon was first started by a girl at a Tennessee University following the 9/11 attacks to help her local community.
Now, over 200 universities participate every year.
Though there are no official figures, America is believed to be home to nearly eight million Muslims.
The event has succeeded in building new bridges of understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim students at the university.
I thought it was really cool that they fasted, Baker said, praising non-Muslim students for participating in the event.
They got to see the Muslim side of what we have to go through, and they had the same feelings we did as far as it being tough and having to abstain from different things.
Experiencing fasting for the first time, Nathan Phillips, a native American from the Omaha Tribe, said he was surprised at the similarities between Islam and his native culture.
Philips said he came to the event to understand the meaning of fasting, which sparked a similarity to native Americans who fast for four days for infancy, youth, adults and elders.
We're sacrificing for the generations to come, to reach out to God and to cleanse the body, mind and spirit, Phillips said.
These similarities were astonishing to some students, including sophomore and clinical psychology major Layali Alsadah.
I knew what the point and reason was for Muslims to fast, Alsadah said.But hearing other people talk about how detoxing and refreshing it is, I didn't think you could grasp that unless you knew the full meaning.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net