More than 300 students participated in the Muslim Student Association Fast-A-Thon and pledged to fast on Nov. 2 during Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims.
It was the second year in a row that Temple’s MSA participated in this national event, created by the MSA in Knoxville, Tenn.
Last year, Temple raised $800 for The Greater Philadelphia Food Bank, a local charity, thanks to the participation of over 180 students.
“We had incredible success last year and we received many compliments from taking this initiative so we decided to continue the trend,” said Aasia Abdullah, vice president of the Temple MSA.
Of the more than 300 students who participated, more than 200 were non-Muslims. The event raised $1138 this year.
According to MSA president Shahid Mohiuodin, for every non-Muslim student that pledged, local businesses like Makkah Market, Muslim Fashion and Cousins Super Market Inc. donated $4 to the Greater Philadelphia Food Bank.
The Fast-A-Thon is also a way for Muslims to do some outreach.
“We are reaching out to non-Muslims because we want to encourage them to engage in a practice that is dear to our faith and experience the hunger and thirst that a needy person is faced with every day,” added Abdullah.
Ramadan is month-long holiday where Muslims fast the entire 30 days. This year it started on Oct. 15 and ends Nov. 14. Non-Muslims who pledged for the Fast-A-Thon were asked to fast only from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 2.
During this time, students agreed to abstain from all foods, drinks, smoking, and sexual relations, and to try to be good to others. If they got hungry, they were supposed to remember those people around the world who do not have anything to satisfy their hunger even if they want to.
For Carly Auerbacher, a nursing student in her junior year, the experience was a memorable one. She decided to participate after it was announced at her sorority.
“I knew it was for a good cause, and I wanted to become more aware of their culture,” said Auerbacher.
Although it seemed hard to keep the fast, the nursing student said that it was not that bad because “you get used to it.” She also said that if she could, she would participate again.
Allison Wahl, another non-Muslim student who took on the challenge after it was announced at her sorority, said her only worry was remembering to fast; in the end, she was able to complete the fast with the rest of the group. She said that the best part of this Fast-A-Thon was witnessing a Muslim prayer for the first time.
At 5 p.m. the students gathered at Mitten Hall for a dinner to end their fast.
Geraldine Rosado can be reached at email@example.com.