Muslim Students Association Hosts Ramadan Dinners


Courtesy of Yousef Maner

The Muslim Students Association hosted a table outside Dougherty Hall.

Sara Hecht, Staff Writer

This April, more than 1.5 billion Muslims around the globe are participating in the holy month of Ramadan through the practice of fasting and prayer. This month, Villanova’s Muslim Students Association (MSA), in conjunction with Villanova Campus Ministry, is hosting weekly Ramadan dinners on Thursday evenings in the Dougherty Hall Tent. Free and diverse foods will be served each week.

Ramadan is a holy month of fasting occurring during the ninth month of Muslim calendar, corresponding with the appearance and subsequent disappearance of the crescent moon. This month is marked as a time for introspection, communal prayer and reading from the Quran for the Muslim community. It is the belief of practicing Muslims that those who observe this holy month are forgiven by God for their past sins as long as they fast, pray and are steadfast in these practices. Therefore, through their weekly meals, Villanova’s MSA helps Muslim students properly observe throughout this holy month.

Freshman Yousef Maner, head of the MSA, encourages any interested member of Villanova’s community to attend the Thursday meals as the MSA hopes to promote Muslim awareness on campus, producing an inclusive environment, which is a message they share on the organization’s site.

This past Thursday, April 15, marked the first of these weekly gatherings. The evening proved highly successful with more than 60 students coming out to Dougherty tent to share both a meal and meaningful conversation. Traditional Desi cuisine was served, which students thoroughly enjoyed, and conversation focused on a myriad of topics.

“They also participated in an informational discussion about Muslims, Muslim traditions and the holy month of Ramadan,” Maner said.

Students unfamiliar with the faith who attended the dinner were able to learn from their peers and gain a better understanding and appreciation for the traditions of this religion and its surrounding culture.

“I wholeheartedly enjoyed MSA’s Ramadan Dinner since it helped me to understand and appreciate Muslim culture better,” freshman Diana Gabriella Hume-Rivera said. “I learned how Ramadan is not only a physical choice of abstention of food, water and pleasures, but a way of empathizing with those in need and a time for self-improvement and spiritual growth in community.”

The Muslim Student Association shared its gratitude to Villanova’s Dining Services, as it offers a breakfast bag program to fasting Muslim students throughout the holy month of Ramadam, which aids the observance during this time. Moreover, Villanova’s Campus Ministry has helped the Muslim Student Association in its offering of resources and financial support, demonstrating its support of Villanova’s Muslim students.

Registration is required for these dinners as participants must choose their desired food choice. One can register for these events by going the Muslim Students Associations page on the Villanova Organizations website. Please note, sign-ups are expected the Monday prior to each Thursday get together.

The remaining weekly Thursday dinners include Soul Food on April 22 from 7-8:30 p.m. and Arab Food on April 29 from 7:30-9 p.m. and will be held in the Dougherty Hall tent.