Muslim students struggle to stay alert in school during Ramadan

Muslim students struggle to stay alert in school during Ramadan

Zineb Drissi

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It’s the holy month of fasting where Muslims won’t eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. This month brings Muslims closer to God (Allah) and teaches them patience, devotion, etc. Long nights are sometimes spent at the mosque with friends and family, and usually fast is also broken together.

Many students at the high school practice this, but not much attention is really brought to it. It’s extremely beneficial to the people practicing, however it can have its tolls. Many kids find it difficult balancing the “night life” of Ramadan with the early school days.

One senior said “when something isn’t there, you tend to feel it more.” Having to think of not eating is what makes it harder, especially on younger individuals.

Another student, who wishes to remain anonymous, said “Ramadan is my favorite time of the year. I don’t know why but like since I was a kid it was just fun going out with my dad to the mosque and stuff. Things get kind of different when you grow up though. I don’t know how to explain it, but, like, probably cause of school, it’s so annoying having to get up before the sunrise and eat and stuff. Sometimes I don’t even wake up. I just eat before I go to bed.”

“I see some schools that do things for Ramadan but like it’s not a big deal here,” the student continued. “I know the nurses definitely know about it because they always help me and understand how tiring it is, but teachers not knowing kind of sucks.  They think I’m, like, off for no reason. But it’s not about them I guess so it doesn’t matter, I enjoy it.” 

Muslims believe that Ramadan is meant to strengthen their relationship with God. It’s supposed to be a month filled with good deeds and self reflection, and at the end of the month there’s a celebration known as Eid al-Fitr. Families and friends get together and usually go out to breakfast or just spend some type of time together.

Schools will usually excuse this absence for most kids who bring it up to them, as it’s a religious holiday for us. What month it lands on depends all on the lunar calendar, which is why some years it has fallen during the summer while others during the school year.