Ramadan in Williamstown for Muslim students is different from Ramadan back home, be it a Muslim country or a large Muslim community within the U.S. – in my case, the latter, in N.Y. For whatever reason, religion and faith play a minor role on our campus. Some are skeptical of religion, while others are contemptuous. This environment produces a challenge to those of us who want to fully practice and retain our faith. We do not have the masjids filled with scholars from whom we can learn, the masses of people praying in congregation throughout the day and night or the wide array of community events that traditionally categorize Ramadan at home. Rather, we must depend on our own drive and determination in order to successfully complete our fast, while gaining knowledge and bettering ourselves as Muslims not just during Ramadhan but throughout the year.
Though the campus presents its share of challenges, it would be unappreciative of me to not mention the things I am blessed to have here. I am grateful for the growing group of brothers and sisters that I have here at the school who have become a second family to me. I am grateful to the faculty and staff who have worked hard to ensure that our needs are accommodated, and I am thankful for my friends and peers who ask me about my faith. Their curiosity provides me with the opportunity to share part of who I am and keeps me mindful of my faith as well – when I say I welcome questions, I sincerely mean it.
Williams College is not a religious campus; however, it provides me with an opportunity to better myself. God willing, I can face the challenges here and emerge from them with a stronger sense of who I am, where I come from and where I am headed. In the process, I hope to teach people about a faith they may not have had much exposure to, but are curious to learn about. I pray for all those who have extended a helping hand and also for those who have not. We all share a narrative as people attempting to come to grips with and solidify our identities in this world, and I pray that we all receive the guidance needed to make us successful in this life and the hereafter. Ramadan Kareem.
Samim Abedi ’10