KPU MSA hosts fifth Ramadan Iftar event

The event aims to build community and spread awareness open to all KPU students

Qudsia Amarkhil (left) and Maimoona Rahman (right) are part of the MSA which is hosting its fifth Ramadan Iftar event on April 9. (Submitted)

Qudsia Amarkhil (left) and Maimoona Rahman (right) are part of the MSA which is hosting its fifth Ramadan Iftar event on April 9. (Submitted)

For the first time since the pandemic, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) is hosting an Iftar event with a goal to support the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Muslim community and open inter-faith dialogue. 

Iftar is the evening meal that breaks fasting during Ramadan, a religious Muslim celebration and period of reflection and prayer. The event will take place at Afghan Chopan, a restaurant on 80 Ave in Surrey, on April 9 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.

The event is the vision MSA President Hannadi Jallad had in mind of students immersing themselves into the Ramadan experience. 

“[Jallad’s] first priority was to bring everyone together and spread awareness… about the things associated with Ramadan,” says Qudsia Amarkhil, treasurer for the MSA. 

Three courses of Afghan cuisine will be served at the event, including dessert. There will also be congregational prayer and recitation of verses from the Quran, the central religious text of Islam. Students from all faiths and backgrounds are encouraged to attend. 

“We want to make this event so students can come together, have a great experience and learn from it so they feel connected and don’t feel alone in doing this and doing all the things that they do during the month of Ramadan.” 

During Ramadan, Muslims fast everyday when the sun comes up till it goes down. Ramadan is celebrated for an entire month and its timing is based on the Islamic lunar calendar. This year, Ramadan started on March 22 and ends April 20.

“[The event] is to really provide information on what a standard day of fasting looks like, and hopefully break some stereotypes and create exposure to have a really great experience in-person and create memories,” says Maimoona Rahman, vice president of the MSA. 

While the event celebrates Iftar, it’s also an intimate look into the lives of Muslims during Ramadan. 

“We will be breaking our fast together, be a part of a congregational prayer, and also recite some verses from our holy book,” Rahman says. 

Amarkhil also says many students she knows have recently converted to Islam and do not have Muslim families to celebrate Ramadan with.

“For some people, it’s their first time fasting and they find it a bit challenging,” Amarkhil says. 

“We wanted to … include them in the community so they can have better exposure to how Muslims celebrate Ramadan. There is always support available for them and they can always rely on community members.” 

Muslims fast to empathize with those who are hungry and increase their spiritual connection. Ramadan also celebrates the Quran, the Islamic holy book, being revealed to the Prophet, Muhammad. Giving to charities is encouraged for those financially capable during this time and is one of the obligations of Islam. This is known as “zakat,” and it is estimated to generate over $550 to $600 billion in charitable funds per year. 

Students interested in attending the event can purchase tickets online on the MSA’s Instagram account @kpumsa for $20.