A Community Observance

Mohd. Khizer Hayat, a master's student at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, speaks about his last Ramadan and Id al-Fitra on campus.

By Mohd. Khizer Hayat

April 2023

A Community Observance

Mohd. Khizer Hayat, a master’s student who is graduating this year, plans to spend his Ramadan and Id al-Fitra with friends on the Texas Tech University campus. Photograph courtesy Mohd. Khizer Hayat.

I am an international graduate student of petroleum engineering and data science at Texas Tech University. I chose to pursue graduate studies at Texas Tech University because I believe by working under the guidance of distinguished researchers, I can contribute to the field of petroleum engineering.

Currently, I am working on my thesis titled, “Wellbore Integrity in Hydrogen Storage Site.” My goals are to acquire the much-required technical expertise, confidence and competence to pursue a career in the petroleum industry as well as in data science where there is a dearth of skilled human capital, an abundance of natural resources and dire need of personnel who possess the passion and dedication needed to effect change in the industry.

Observing Ramadan

I came to the United States in January 2021. This year is my third Ramadan in the United States. We have a student mosque which is very close to campus where everyone prays and iftar boxes are distributed to all during Ramadan.

In Lubbock, we celebrate Id al-Fitra with the special prayer in the morning at the main mosque of the city. After the Id al-Fitra prayer, breakfast is served with coffee and donuts at the mosque. People greet each other and hangout for a while, there’s a great camaraderie. Also, every year on the Id al-Fitra weekend, a special dinner is hosted by the Muslim Student Association at the main mosque of Lubbock. The dinner is open for all and people gather with their families to celebrate.

I plan to celebrate Id al-Fitra by attending the special prayer at the mosque, greeting friends, wearing new clothes, making sewai, a special Id al-Fitra delicacy, and inviting all my friends over to my place. The Muslim Student Association will prepare traditional food and host a lunch on Id al-Fitra.

Ramadan is observed differently in India and the United States due to cultural and societal differences. The timings of fasting are different, depending on geographical location, with differences in sunrise and sunset times.

I believe the big difference I have observed in the United States is that Ramadan is celebrated as a community event. It’s more about including the community in every possible way. One of the reasons might be that most of us are international students who don’t live with families here. In India, it’s mostly a celebration within one’s family. There are also many similarities in how Ramzan is observed in India and the United States, such as the emphasis on prayer and reflection, the importance of family and community, and the spiritual significance of the month.

The Muslim Student Association plays a significant role in the life of the Muslim student at university. On the association’s request, we were granted some food restaurant options which serve halal food in the campus and also have halal tag in their menu.

I’m graduating this semester, so maybe this might be my last Id al-Fitra in Lubbock. I plan to celebrate this Id al-Fitra with my friends. I will be praying in this holy month to get a job, which is the next most crucial step in my professional life and to express my gratitude for all the blessings of Allah.

Mohd. Khizer Hayat is pursuing a dual master’s degree in data science and petroleum engineering at Texas Tech University, Lubbock.


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