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    Vet Nursing student Adeeba shares her experience of Ramadan at Harper Adams

    22 March 2024

    Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is observed by the Muslim community worldwide with a month of fasting, prayer and community.

    As the Islamic calendar is based around the lunar cycle, the month of Ramadan rotates by approximately ten days each year. But what’s it like being a student during Ramadan, and combining a month of prayer and fasting with your day-to-day University life?

    Originally from Bradford, first-year Veterinary Nursing student, Adeeba Zaman talks to us about her experience as a Muslim student observing Ramadan at Harper Adams, and her studies in the Veterinary world.

    “During Ramadan, my typical day as a fasting student begins with a pre-dawn meal called Suhoor. I wake up around 4:10 am and eat a piece of toast with jam, as it helps to keep me full during the day.”

    “After Suhoor, I pray the morning prayer called Fajr, which is one out of the five prayers I pray throughout the day.

    “I’ll then catch a few more hours of sleep before waking up again to get ready for my lectures. Throughout the day, I attend lectures, hang out with friends, read my other prayers, and study – all whilst refraining from food and drink.”

    Despite these physical challenges, Adeeba says she continues to stay focused and motivated through spiritual reflection and prayer.

    She said: “As the day progresses, fatigue sets in, so I normally stay in my room and take a nap and relax until sun sets.

    “When the sun sets, it’s time for me to break my fast – this is called Iftar. This is normally after 6:30pm, but as the sun sets at different times as the days go on, it tends to change- but thankfully this year the latest time the sun sets is 8pm. A few years ago, Ramadan fell in June so the fast was lasting as late as 10pm which was really tough!

    “After stuffing my belly with food, I read the fourth prayer of the day called Maghrib.  

    “Evenings during Ramadan are dedicated to additional prayers and Quran recitation. After all this, I go to sleep and wake up the next day - repeating it all over again.

    “Balancing academic responsibilities with the spiritual significance of the Holy Month is sometimes difficult but as the days go on, it becomes easier, as I've established a routine. 

    “Despite the challenges, Ramadan instils discipline and gratitude as I navigate fasting while pursuing my academic goals.

    “In my opinion, there isn't really much difference to usual physically - besides the fact I get tired quickly. But I have noticed that I get more work done in the morning when I'm fasting compared to the end of the day whereas when it's not Ramadan, I get more work done in the afternoon rather than the morning.

    “It’s been great to chat about Ramadan as well with people – like they ask me questions because they’re curious and want to learn more about it.

    “This is my first Ramadan away from home so it has felt a bit lonely at times as back home, we all come together as a family to eat and have fun – so I do miss that part but it’s still been great so far and I chat with my flatmates about it as well like about my routine, why I pray as I do, when I do and don’t eat which is really nice.

    “It’s really nice to hear how people celebrate their traditions, like Christmas for example. There is a mix of diversity here but back in Bradford, there are a lot more Muslims and Asians back at home that in like my sixth form – so it was a big change coming here.

    “In the beginning I was nervous – I didn’t see many people who looked like me - but having come to the Open Day and having now started my course, I feel like I settled in really quickly and everyone has been really nice.”

    Veterinary Nursing students – like all undergraduate Harper Adams students – are expected to seek industry placements to gain professional knowledge in a real-life setting.

    Whilst students on most of Harper Adams courses have a placement year during their third-year students on Veterinary courses incorporate it throughout their time at university.

    This means Adeeba is about to get started with her first placement, which will be with West Mount Vets in Halifax, where she is hoping to broaden her knowledge with real, hands-on case studies.

    “I’m really looking forward to seeing the case studies and seeing if I can handle it. Taking and administering fluids, getting lab experience and using the equipment in a real-life setting.”

    As she prepares for placement, Adeeba is also finding the hands-on nature of her Veterinary Nursing degree to be helpful in developing her understanding of the theory underpinning the course.

    She added: “I really like the way they teach my course – for me, I’m a more practical learner so I like to get involved. Of course, I do still enjoy the lecture side of my course because it’s interesting, but having the facilities available to put that learning into practice is great.

    “In our practical classes we have experience with working with the animals – checking pulses, one-to-one handling time with dogs and cats and even down to learning the correct gloving technique. It takes a lot of practice, but the lecturers always offer support every step of the way.”

    We have Spiritual and Faith Support on campus through the Chaplicany and socieities. If you would like a quiet space to use for prayer, reflection or meditation, we have the Quiet Room on Campus which is available for staff and students to use. Please contact the University Chaplain, Libby Leech on if you would like to use the Quiet Room.

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