Harmony Week: Student shares his Ramadan experience

Mustafa Ali Khan is getting used to the alarm going off at 5am and eating breakfast before the sun rises.

That breakfast – which typically includes eggs, flatbread, chicken stew and plenty of water – is the last thing the Year 12 student will eat for the next 14-plus hours.

Mustafa is among approximately 15 Blackfriars students currently fasting for Ramadan.

Ramadan is considered one of the holiest months for Muslims around the world. Those observing Ramadan do not eat – or have anything to drink, including water – between sunrise and sunset.

It is also a time of prayer, reflection and community and teaches self-discipline, self-control and empathy for those who are less fortunate.

“The most important reason for it (Ramadan) is because we are told by God and obviously God knows what is best for us and we don’t question him,” Mustafa says.

“We know he is doing everything for a reason. This is a test for us.”

Mustafa and his family, as Shia Muslims, wait until about 15 minutes after sunset to break their daily fast. The first thing they will eat is a date.

“That’s how it’s religiously and traditionally broken,” Mustafa says.

“Dates are a really common fruit in the Middle East … and Prophet Muhammad, who is arguably the most important figure in our religion, he broke his fast with a date. We want to follow in his footsteps.

“Something that is really common for my community and my culture is paneer (a type of cheese). We have that with bread. It (paneer) is always there, some flatbread to the side, the dates. And a lot of people have tea.

“When you break your fast, you want to take it slow after a whole day of not eating.”

Each night during Ramadan, Mustafa also attends the Mosque.

“The hardest thing for me right now is getting my sleep schedule right,” he says.

“I go to the Mosque each night … and you read one chapter of the Quran. By the end of that, it’s almost 10pm, so maybe I get to sleep about 10.30pm.

“When I wake up in the mornings … I come to school early … to try and get some work done. Lately it’s been really hard with the sleep.”

Ramadan concludes with the celebration of Eid (this year on Wednesday 10 April), which is a festive day of prayers, feasting and giving of gifts. It is a time of joy and gratitude for the blessings of Ramadan.

“(Eid) is the biggest celebration of the year,” Mustafa says.

“You wake up early in the morning and there is a special prayer at the Mosque. After praying together, we all go outside and there’s some pastries, chai, that’s a popular one, and we just talk to each other, we hug each other.

“It’s like Christmas for us. Everyone is happy … we are all happy together. It’s just a really enjoyable day.”

Mustafa Ali Khan, Year 12, reflects on Ramadan.

Mustafa’s maternal family is originally from Afghanistan, but moved to Pakistan when his mother was a toddler. In 2015, seeking a better life, the family moved to Australia.

Back then, Mustafa spoke some Urdu and Hindi, as well as his native Hazaraghi. But, almost incomprehensibly when you chat with him today, he spoke no English.

“It was really hard at first,” he says of learning English. “But the class I was in, there were a few Afghans, so I spoke to them and my first ever teacher, she spoke Urdu … that helped me a lot as well.”

Now, as he completes Year 12 at Blackfriars, he is starting to think about his post-school future. He is almost certain he wants to go to university, although he is not yet sure what he wants to study.

“I just want to find a job that makes me happy,” he says.

This week is Harmony Week, an opportunity to celebrate cultural diversity – at Blackfriars and across our nation.

“While we are a proud Catholic school, Blackfriars is also proudly home to students from more than 40 cultures and many faith backgrounds,” APRIM Angela Collins says.  

“Living in a multicultural community offers so many learning opportunities and nurtures diverse thinkers as we see just a smidgen of life lived through a different lens.

“It reminds us that we are part of an ever-increasingly connected world. Hopefully, we will continue to build empathy, dismantle stereotypes and nurture true communication and understanding.”

Italian Power Radio: Blackfriars old scholar's cultural quest

Blackfriars old scholar Jake Giacchino Graziani is hitting the airwaves to keep Italian culture alive in Adelaide.


Want more news?

Keep up-to-date with all the happenings in and around Blackfriars on our socials.

Follow usfind us on facebook Follow usfind us on facebook

Similar Posts