Ramadan for Muslim Students and Staff

Ramadan a time of Fasting, Prayer, Reflection for Muslim Students and Staff
Posted on 04/12/2021

Many MNPS students and staff members will spend the next 30 days observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a time of fasting, prayer, and reflection when all Muslims who have reached the age of puberty must abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sundown.

Ramadan begins Tuesday, April 13, and continues through Wednesday, May 12, according to the sighting of the new moon. Muslims will celebrate the end of the month with the Eid-ul-Fitr (Festival of Fast Breaking) holiday, tentatively set for Thursday, May 13.

For the second year in a row, Ramadan observances, like so many other activities, will be somewhat limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the fasting requirement has not changed, and with many students having returned to school in person, Muslim leaders are asking middle school and high school administrators and teachers to be aware of students’ physical discomfort and fatigue and to make any reasonable accommodations.

“Students may be tired, hungry, and dehydrated by the end of the school day, especially during the late afternoon,” explained Sabina Mohyuddin, executive director of the American Muslim Advisory Council. “Additionally, Muslims engage in a late-night prayer (11⁄2 hours after sunset) and a pre-dawn meal, which may also contribute to fatigue.”

Here are some important reminders for best supporting students during Ramadan:

  • Fasting for Young Children: Children who have not reached puberty are NOT required to fast. However, some younger children fast half the day, so they may not eat breakfast but eat lunch.
  • Outdoor time with students: The weather is beautiful, and we spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun after testing. Try to let students sit in the shade when outside, since students cannot have water while fasting.
  • Lunch: Designate a place for students during lunchtime so they don't have to sit next to students who are eating. It can be a teacher's classroom, library, space inside the cafeteria, etc.
  • Social-Emotional Wellbeing: Being mindful that students who observe fasting can feel left out, teachers can come up with creative ways to make sure students don't feel excluded from activities or classroom celebrations that tend to take place during this time.
  • Snacks during TN Ready Testing: During testing, students are often offered snacks between testing sessions. It is important to be mindful of students who will be fasting during this time period. Teachers should not exclude fasting students when they pass out snacks during testing breaks, as students can take non-perishable items home.
  • Hijab: It is not uncommon for some female students who normally do not wear a hijab to put it on for the month of Ramadan and remove it when the fasting period is over. It is best practice to avoid questioning them publicly as to why they put it on or remove it; this is how some people show their respect for the month.
  • Non-fasting female students: Also, it is best practice to refrain from asking female Muslim students why they are not fasting if they eat or drink during school hours. While on their menses, they are excused from participating in fasting, including females who are pregnant, nursing, or sick.

For those who want to learn more about Islam and Ramadan, the Islamic Center of Nashville will be hosting three one-hour crash courses at 6:15 p.m. on April 20, April 26, and May 5 at its Bellevue location, 7337 Charlotte Pike. You can RSVP via the submission form.

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