Cambridge University Islamic Society organises Virtual Ramadan

“There is a deeper purpose behind us being in lockdown during Ramadan at home”

The Cambridge University Islamic Society (ISoc) has organised a Virtual Ramadan with a series of events to reproduce the excitement and community spirit of Ramadan while “you’re in ISoc-lation” (pun intended).

The programmes include webinars, separate Tafseer and Qur’an Circles, and Halaqahs to share knowledge, opinions and advice on a topic you prefer or simply just listen to what the others have to say.

These meetings aim to begin discussions offering insight into different perspectives and viewpoints.

ISoc Vice President, Maryam Mahmood, told the Cambridge Tab: “Community lies at the heart of our society and so it’s always our main aim to maintain the strong Muslim community we are fortunate to have and ensure that we remain connected. We hope that virtual Ramadan is able to do just that and on behalf of the ISoc committee, Ramadan Mubarak and we pray that everyone is keeping well and safe.”

Virtual Ramadan 2020

There are also Sister’s Welfare sessions in the Virtual Ramadan program. This is a space for Muslim women to open up and voice their worries on any topic or just simply listen to other women. ISoc hopes this will be a helpful session to provide some ease during these difficult and strange times.

ISoc Student Affairs Officer, Sehrish Mahmood, will lead these meetings, who describes herself this way: “Whether you’re a fresher in need of a helping hand, or someone in need of a chat, I’m your go to”.

Ramadan Sister's Welfare

The webinars offer theoretical, but also practical topics such as “How to spend Ramadan as a University Student during a pandemic” (1st May, 2-4 pm (BST)). This talk will be given by Dr Sejad Mekic who is the first appointed Imam of the recently opened and award-winning Cambridge Central Mosque.

Cambridge Ramadan 2020

WATCH: Cambridge students share how they observe Ramadan this year

Aisha Yusuf, a PhD student at King’s College, told the Cambridge Tab: “I was incredibly excited about the release of the virtual events. Ramadan is undoubtedly my favourite time of the year. Now that we are social distancing and for PhD students like myself, sucked into zoom meetings and meeting up with deadlines, I was initially worried that Ramadan will pass by so quickly without experiencing the special sense of community and solace that this time of the year brings me.

“When I saw the release of the Virtual Ramadan on the ISoc website, and I saw how packed the planned activities are, the first thing I told my friend (who was equally as delighted) was “you can just that tell that they’ve put in so much work switching all of the events virtual especially on such short notice”.

“I am actually impressed by such quick action given how unprecedented the time is. The first talk starts today and I’m super excited and grateful for all of the activities lined up in the coming weeks . Yes, we will be spending Ramadan slightly differently this year, [but] I am nevertheless thankful that ISoc has come up with creative ways for us as a community to keep the Ramadan spirit alive despite the strange circumstance.”

The ISoc has also a blog where you can read about current issues concerning Islam in Cambridge. “There is a deeper purpose behind us being in lockdown during Ramadan at home”, writes Rahat Uddin, a first-year Natural Scientist, in his blogpost, Ramadan during a Pandemic. In this article, he describes how he found his peace with the situation despite he couldn’t wait to spend Ramadan with his Cambridge friends. The online ISoc events attempt to replace this sense of community. Find out more about the Virtual Ramadan 2020 on the ISoc website. Ramadan Mubarak!

If you want to know how Cambridge students fight against exclusion, such as Islamophobia, check out this article.

#speakout against islamophobia

Anna Forringer-Beal’ #speakout campaign picture. Photography: Rodrigo Córdova Rosado. Illustrations: Oliver Anthrops

Cover photo: Cambridge University Islamic Society Committee 2020/2021. ISoc.