Ramadan at Durham University

Muhammad Zulkifly

As a doctoral candidate at Durham University and the incumbent President of the Islamic Society, I am privileged to elucidate the experience of observing Ramadan within our esteemed academic environment. This sacred month constitutes a period for introspection, personal growth, and spiritual enhancement, offering daily opportunities to refine ourselves and fortify our connection with Allah.


The Islamic moral economy seeks to establish equilibrium in society through a sharing economy, emphasizing the importance of ‘giving up’ as an essential quality for human development. Ramadan epitomizes this concept as Muslims voluntarily abstain from eating and drinking during specific hours, while also being encouraged to provide to the needy as the perfect example of a Muslim, Prophet Muhammad was generous in general but he is recorded to be more generous during this holy month. Charity in Islam goes beyond donating spare or unwanted items; it is rooted in the concept of ihsan where the practice of sharing one’s resources to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth, emancipation from need, and empowerment within the community.

Supportive community

Durham University is endowed with a supportive community that acknowledges the significance of Ramadan for Muslim students. In the face of the distinct challenges arising from observing this month alongside academic obligations, I have discovered solace in the cohesion and fellowship among our society’s members. Our collective practice of the sharing economy during this time manifests the underlying principles of the Islamic moral economy.

The Islamic Society

During Ramadan, the Islamic Society at Durham facilitates daily iftar gatherings for communal fast-breaking. This shared culinary experience engenders an atmosphere of warmth and unity, reinforcing the notion that we are accompanied throughout our journey. Similarly, nightly Taraweeh prayers provide an opportunity for our community to congregate and amplify our spirituality through the collective recitation and contemplation of the Holy Quran, instilling a renewed sense of purpose and reverence for our faith.

As the President of the Islamic Society, I am honoured to bear witness to the fortitude, adaptability, and dedication of our members. Our objective is to cultivate an environment that enables Muslim students to strike a balance between their religious observance, academic pursuits, and participation in the sharing economy during this hallowed month.

In summation

Participating in Ramadan at Durham University has proven to be a spiritually edifying experience for me and has concurrently bolstered my connection with fellow Muslim students and the community. This month serves as an eloquent testament to the values we cherish – compassion, discipline, and an unwavering commitment to individual and collective growth within the framework of a sharing economy.

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Muhammad Zulkifly

Muhammad Zulkifly is President of the Islamic Society. As Ramadan ends this week with the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr, Muhammad provides an academic perspective on spiritual observance and the sharing economy.

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