July 14, 2024

Fast-a-thon teaches students self control, discipline

In the Islamic culture, the Ramadan is an annual ritual in which they fast from sunrise to sunset for an entire month. It is considered a test of guidance and is where the inspiration behind the thirteenth annual Fast-a-thon dinner came from. Though this event does not always fall in the Islamic calendar nor does it last an entire month, it demonstrates the disciple of the Islamic culture.  This event is hosted by the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and is partnering with Islamic Awareness Week for the first time this year. The Fast-a-thon originated at the University of Tennessee but is now a major event in MSA organizations across the United States.

“We want people to go hungry so someone else does not have to,” says Noor Alshibli, head coordinator of the event. “Basically we are encouraging people to fast for a day and in return a local business will donate one dollar to the Love Kitchen, a soup kitchen here in East Knoxville.”

The idea started with the concepts behind the Islamic belief of fasting during Ramadan and the MSA wanted to bring about awareness of the Muslim religion and Islamic culture. Though run by a religiously affiliated group, this is not a religious event but more a way to give back to the community.

Judd Cowan, a senior engineering major, takes part in the fasting every year but is attending the dinner for the first time. He states that he doesn’t know much about the organization, but he believes in the cause of fasting because it aligns with his religious beliefs. “I believe that they have a good thing going. It tests self control and raises money for a good cause,” he says.

Junior Alex Suggs, a member of ROTC has a different set of reasons for coming to the Fast-a-thon. “This is a way for the MSA to break any stereotypes that are made about the Muslim [religion] and Islamic culture.”

The MSA expects a major turnout of well over 800 people due to the fact it is a double event, featuring both the Fast-a-thon and Islamic Awareness Week. The recognition might allow them to host more events in the upcoming semester.

Edited by Zach Dennis