One of the most distinctive characteristics of the Macquarie community is our cultural diversity, with staff and students bringing together a rich tapestry of perspectives and beliefs from all corners of the world.
With many staff currently observing Ramadan – the holiest month on the Islamic calendar – we asked Dr Salahudin (Salut) Muhidin, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management in the Macquarie Business School, to share why this is such an important month for Muslim staff and students.
What does Ramadan mean to you, Salut?
For me, Ramadhan has three important trainings.
Physically, it trains you to be healthier and stronger by having a break from your routine eating time/habits. So, it gives your body a chance to rest for a while and recover from too much digesting work.
Emotionally, it trains you to be more patient and altruistic. Fasting trains you to be able to suppress your hunger/thirst and emotions, and we are also encouraged to be charitable during this time, such as sharing meals for break the fast, and giving zakat [a charitable donation to the poor, which is often made in the last days of fasting].
Spiritually, it is a time to be closer to our creator, the God almighty. According to Islamic belief, spiritual and charitable actions during this special month will be rewarded more than usual. The biggest reward is usually during the 17th night of Ramadan, when the first Quranic verse was delivered to the prophet Muhammad.
How can we support our Muslim colleagues and students during Ramadan?
Although it is true that not eating or drinking during the day can give us less energy, fasting should not affect daily activities for most Muslims.
If teaching – especially between 6am and 6pm – it would be good to be aware if there are any students who are fasting. Activities that require physical strength should be modified or replaced accordingly.
For staff, we can still do our routine activities but be mindful of longer activities, or long periods without breaks, which can make us tired.
Ramadan will be observed until 12 May, when the breaking of the fast will be celebrated with Eid al-Fitr.
Staff can acknowledge the significance of the month by wishing Muslim colleagues Ramadan Mubarak (have a happy Ramadan) or Ramadan Kareem (have a blessed Ramadan), and Eid Mubarak (have a happy Eid) on Thursday 13 May.