Khalil Uqdah '06 returned to Roland Avenue on Wednesday, March 22, for Upper School assembly to speak about Ramadan, which began that evening at sundown. He was joined by his father, Imam Wali Uqdah, a longtime leader within Baltimore's Muslim community and the co-author of "A History and Narrative of Muslim Americans in Baltimore, MD from 1945-2000."
Khalil, who ran track at Gilman and later at Lehigh University, opened with a prayer. Imam Uqdah shared scripture. Ramadan is a 30-day period during which practicing Muslims fast during daylight hours. "Fasting is a way to humble yourself," he said. "It helps you feel God more." He talked about the challenges of fasting, not only from food and drink but from other vices as well.
Khalil described how the practice helps him and others develop a stronger focus. "Through the hunger and the avoidance, you get clear," he said. "By the end of the month, Muslims around the world emerge anew."
At the end of Ramadan, a three-day celebration called Eid al-Fitr begins. Khalil explained that Muslims enjoy gathering with family, sharing food, and exchanging gifts.
He asked the Upper School students to be aware of their friends who may be practicing Ramadan. "Be mindful about the spiritual awakening they are looking for."
"It was awesome to learn more about the particular practices members of our community observe during Ramadan," said Joe Valentine-White, Interim Director of Community, Inclusion, and Equity (CIE). "I am so grateful to Khalil and his father for sharing their culture with the community during assembly."