Islam is composed of five main pillars, the fourth one of which is fasting. Although there are numerous optional fasts prescribed in Islam, Muslims are expected to fast for 30 days throughout the lunar month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset. During fasts, Muslims are expected to abstain from food, drink, sensual pleasures and bad or negative behavior. In short it is meant to nurture discipline, good character, and patience.
For more than a decade, the MSA has held daily free ‘iftaars’ (literally: break-fasts) or dinners for thousands of fasting Muslim members of the university throughout the month in order to accommodate this annual month-long religious obligation-the breaking of the fast.
A small army of volunteers is assembled every Ramadan in order to help meet the demands and logistical requirements that feed between 400 to 500 fasting university members daily, Monday to Friday. These efforts are coordinated with the help of the University administration and Chartwells (to acquire Kitchen space and utilities), the People’s Potato, CCSL, and various other student clubs on campus.
Student clubs, CSU executives and councilors, University administration and staff are invited to join those breaking their fasts through invitation. Several other students of all faiths and of limited means also benefit from our services, which effectively renders it as an MSA outreach to the wider Concordia mosaic.
We also feature special days where specific clubs and associations have hosted Ramadan dinners, like the Bangladeshi Students Association (BSA), and the Egyptian Students Association (ESA). Others, like the Pakistani Student Association (PSA) have contributed to the costs.
The majority of the work takes place in the kitchen space between 9:00am and 10:00pm. Their work is divided into three functional aspects:
- Cooking and preparation: It is meant to tackle the responsibility to prepare quantities of food for those breaking their fasts. This takes the most time.
- Serving: It is more broad-based and coordinated so as to avoid wastage and maintain efficiency. This requires the most organization and delegation of tasks.
- Cleaning up: These duties are perhaps the most tiresome as they keep volunteers working until after most have left the university premises.