Temple, accommodate students during Ramadan

A student urges Temple to offer prayer spaces and to-go meals to Muslim students practicing Ramadan.


Updated on April 7 at 10:19 a.m.

Ramadan, the most sacred month in the Islamic calendar, is a time of spiritual reflection, prayer and abstaining from food and drink from dawn until dusk. From March 22 to April 20, Muslims around the world come together to observe this practice. 

Fasting can be challenging when living on campus or relying on meal plans because there are limited on-campus dining options available in time for Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal.

Making accommodations for students during Ramadan isn’t just a matter of meeting student needs, it promotes inclusivity and respect on campus. By offering designated prayer spaces and to-go meals in dining halls, students can practice their religion without sacrificing academic success. Temple University can create an environment that supports academic and religious student needs and fosters a sense of community.

Other local universities already support their students during Ramadan. Drexel University allows students with meal plans to pick up a to-go meal for Suhoor the evening prior. During sunset, dates and water are available in buildings on campus, and Drexel is designating five prayer spaces on campus. 

“As a Muslim professor, I try to remind my colleagues that this is the month of Ramadan and that your students might be fasting during this month, so they should be aware of that and kind of observe them a little more carefully, because especially when it gets hotter, when Ramadan is in the hot months, students might not be feeling well,” said Zain Abdullah, a religion professor. 

Temple administration is currently working with the Muslim Student Association to offer to-go meals in the Howard Gittis Student Center’s interfaith prayer room, said Kubarah Ghias, a senior psychology and neuroscience major and president of MSA. 

However, to further accommodate students, meals must be provided in all dining halls too.  

Although Temple’s administration is not familiar with other universities’ programming, they’re interested in knowing what schools are doing and are open to exploring options with Aramark for the future, wrote Chris Carey, the senior associate dean of students and student affairs, in an email to The Temple News. 

Johnson and Hardwick and Morgan Dining Hall are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. The sun will rise before 7 a.m. for the remainder of Ramadan, so students will need to eat earlier than dining halls open for Suhoor. 

Towards the end of Ramadan, the sun will set closer to 8 p.m., leaving less than 30 minutes for students to eat a meal for Iftar — the evening meal following sunset — at a dining hall before it closes early on Saturdays. 

Muslim students with meal plans should be able to pick up to-go meals from dining halls during operating hours to ensure they can be nourished before and after a day of fasting. 

Ramadan is a time of community and celebration and students who observe the tradition often come together to break their fasts with others. However, there is a lack of accessible space on Temple’s campus for gathering. 

Although MSA has some planned gatherings for Iftar, the Student Center’s room reservation policy only allows a student organization two room bookings per week, preventing MSA from hosting daily dinners. 

In February 2022, the organization was granted a temporary prayer space in the Paley Building, but when construction began for the new College of Public Health building this spring semester, Muslim students were redirected to the interfaith prayer room. 

Holding gatherings for Ramadan isn’t feasible because access to the room isn’t limited to just Muslim students and the celebrations may be disruptive for other students using the space to practice their religions. 

“There’s been a big request from our student body to have an accessible building that doesn’t close at 10 or something, where night prayer can be held,” Ghias said. “The goal is to eventually have administration, even if it’s just during Ramadan, to try to be accommodating in that regard.”  

Despite Ghias’ concerns about access to university buildings, the Student Center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Having a dedicated space for prayer can help students feel more comfortable and supported in their religious practices. It’s necessary to create an inclusive and welcoming campus environment by accommodating the diverse needs of students through prayer spaces or to-go meals.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include the Howard Gittis Student Center’s hours of operation to clarify the status of MSA’s access to university buildings.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the status of the Muslim Students Association’s access to the Paley Building as a prayer space.

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