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A Resilient Ramadan

Home A Resilient Ramadan

Coming together in times of crisis.

It was quiet. As the moon cast a pale glow on the stones of the iconic Duke chapel, the campus lay enveloped by silence. Spring break meant that the usually bustling walkways and vibrant buildings were now empty and silent. Amidst this quietude, a distinct sound pierced through the darkness, a melodic recitation of surah al fatiha, the first chapter in the Qur’an. The sound of prayer cast tranquility and a sense of sacredness and serenity permeated the empty campus grounds from the open window of the Center for Muslim Life.

On the evening Sunday, March 10, hundreds of Muslims at Duke and thousands more across the Triangle began observing Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar. A time of spiritual reflection, Ramadan marks the period during which the Qur’an, the holy text of Islam, was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). At its core, Ramadan is an opportunity to increase closeness to God through acts of worship, introspection, and charitable deeds. The month is an opportunity to slow down, reflect on one’s actions and intentions, seek forgiveness and cultivate gratitude and generosity. Ramadan cultivates self-discipline and forces us to reevaluate our relationship to consumerism and capitalism through fasting and increased acts of worship. 

Moreover, Ramadan is a time of heightened community and familial bonds, an element that has been particularly important in recent months. Over the last year, millions out of the almost 2 billion Muslims worldwide have been subjugated to increased surveillance, persecution, starvation, displacement, and massacres. Now more than ever, Muslims around the world are dedicated to the values of compassion, empathy, altruism, and commitment to justice that underscore the month of Ramadan.

Bringing A Grieving Community Together

At Duke, the Center for Muslim Life worked with campus partners to develop numerous programs, resources, and services to ensure Muslims on campus can observe Ramadan. This includes a Ramadan Training for campus staff, faculty, and students, suhoor/sehri program (pre-dawn meal), congregational prayers, accommodations, and more. 

Perhaps the most robust resource is our pre-iftar talk and iftar evening programming. Thanks to the support of sponsors, the CML worked with Duke Dining to provide zabihah halal iftar, the meal to break fast, to over 200 people four nights a week. Due to the high demand and growth of the Muslim community, some students joke that getting tickets to iftar is harder than buying Taylor Swift tickets. Nonetheless, hundreds of students, staff, faculty, alumni, friends, and family come together almost daily to break bread together and build camaraderie, communal solidarity and righteousness. 

Moreover, the CML has worked to host 18 scholars, activists, and community leaders for our pre-iftar halaqa (discussion) program. From discussing Islamic psychology and working on the soul to highlighting new research on a West African Muslim scholar enslaved in the Carolinas, these pre-iftar talks provide an opportunity for students to engage in different spiritual and academic topics related to Islam and Muslims.

Through prayer, reflection, fasting, and acts of kindness, our community has demonstrated the utmost resilience in continuing to deepen our faith, strengthen our characters and embody our values in daily life.


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About the Center for Muslim Life at Duke

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The Center for Muslim Life (CML) is the home for all things Muslim life on Duke’s campus. Guided by a mission to help bridge the faith and values of Muslim students with their Duke education, the CML creates an environment for Muslims to flourish by enriching understandings of Islam through meaningful engagement with students, faculty, staff and alumni. We are committed to enriching the lives of Muslim students and the whole campus through events and activities that cater to the spiritual, social, and intellectual needs of Duke students. Whether you were born or raised Muslim, interested in or new to Islam, or know nothing at all, we are a home away from home for all who want to engage with and be a part of the Muslim community at Duke.

The Center for Muslim Life’s programs and resources are made possible through the support of students, parents, alumni, and friends. Become a donor to the Center for Muslim Life today.