Students celebrate Muslim tradition

September is the month when Muslims take time to celebrate Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. 

A few Muslim students at Florida A&M University are making it a priority to observe Ramadan by taking every day out of the month and spending those days by abstaining from an activity.    

Luqman McNeil, 22, a senior architecture student Jacksonville, said the fast, another term for abstaining from something, is an all day activity.                         

“Basically, we don’t eat from the time the sun comes up until the sun goes down and we do that for thirty days,” said McNeil.                                        

McNeil said that many religions encourage some sort of fasting for religious reasons.              “Religion in general has always been important to me,” McNeil said. “A relationship with God is always important.                                        

According to, Muslims use this month to re-evaluate their lives in the light of their Islamic faith.                                   

McNeil said Muslims are required to read a special book and pray.                 

“We are obligated to read portions of the Quran and pray five times a day,” McNeil said. 

“There are certain prays during Ramadan that you are supposed to perform.  The Quran is broken up into thirty portions, so you would read a portion every night.”                          McNeil said that being on the 30-day fast for Ramadan may seem difficult at times but in the end, the benefits of fasting are great.  Muslims can pay special attention to their spiritual nature.        

“This month is definitely time for purification and to just stay focused among all the stuff you get into,” said Emil Muhammad, 22, a senior biological and agricultural systems engineer student from Queens, NY.                                        

Although other people have their own ways to their spirituality, Muhammad believes that practicing Islam is important because it’s the right way to go.                     

“I felt like I got into the right vehicle in a sense to what I’m looking for and through Islam, you definitely know about Jesus,” Muhammad said. 

“I felt that oneness of God as I read through the scriptures.  And Ramadan is important because it makes you look in yourself and find your inner discipline and inner strength to do all this and it’s very rewarding.”                       

Muhammad said that Muslims abstain from anything that is distracting to their closer relationship with God such as, food, drink and other physical needs or activities during the daylight hours.                                               

But Ramadan is much more than just not eating or drinking.                 

McNeil said he has to work on restraining himself from listening to music.                 

“I like to listen to the radio and it can be a big distraction too, but you need to evaluate yourself and see what’s distracting you from God and give those things up,” McNeil said.