MSA’s speaker series prepares students for Ramadan

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Students settle in to hear from Imam Hanif Fouse. - Photo via @rowanmsa on Instagram

With Ramadan starting on March 10, just before Spring Break, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) put on a series of talks throughout late February and early March to prepare the Muslim students on campus for the holy month.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is the holy month when Muslims around the world fast from dawn to sunset. The month is meant to bring worshippers closer to Allah and commemorate the Quran. 

The theme for the event was “Purifying the Heart” and the talk was presented by Imam Hanif Fouse, who is the Imam of the United Muslim Masjid in Philadelphia. 

Adam Elbanby is the education outreach chair for the organization.

“We do it for the Muslims on campus so we can prepare ourselves for Ramadan. So we can get closer to God and purify our hearts and souls so that we can have a more blessed month this year,” said Elbanby. 

Imam Fouse spoke to the students to prepare them for the month of fasting and bring more clarity on how the month should be drawing students who practice Islam further into their faith.

The discussion focused heavily on the themes of forgiveness, specifically the mercy Muslims believe Allah grants them as they practice their faith and go about their lives, and the way positive and negative actions are perceived within the faith. 

Imam Fouse talked about how in Islam, good deeds are counted for a person’s soul 10 times, and thoughts of performing good deeds are counted once, while thoughts of committing negative deeds are not counted and actually committing negative deeds counts against a person’s soul only once. 

He also talked about how worshippers should not and cannot rely on pressure from others to follow through with their fast, that it is an action between the faithful and Allah. 

“No one knows if you really fast at the end of the day. No one knows that but you and Allah,” said Imam Fouse.

The Imam also said it was important to remember that Allah is the reason for the fast as those practicing Islam are participating in the fast, as it will bring them closer to their sacrifice. The practice of worshiping Allah as if he is present in the room with the faithful individual is associated with the consciousness of Allah which makes the religion stronger. 

Sadia Islam is the vice president of the MSA.

“We’ve had him come before [at] the beginning of last semester, so it’s very nice of him. He leads a lot of different communities there. So it’s nice to have him at Rowan because… we have a very different community from what he’s used to in the city. He was talking about purifying the heart. Ramadan is all about purification like the whole act of fasting is based on purifying your heart and purifying your stomach and realigning your priorities basically. So I think the topic really fit with the theme tonight and what the speaker was talking about. I think a lot of people benefited from it,” said Islam.  

Imam Fouse also answered questions from the Muslim students in attendance, clarifying notes from his own talk and answering questions the students already had, telling those in attendance that brushing teeth does not break a fast, as Islam only counts the stomach and not the mouth as a breaking of the fast.

Dinner was served when the Imam was done speaking, with a variety of Middle Eastern dishes as well as pizza and sodas present for guests to choose from.

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