Ramadan fanous

Supporting students observing Ramadan

Unique considerations for Muslim students observing Ramadan at UCalgary.

What is Ramadan? 

Ramadan is a month wherein all adult Muslims across the globe observe 29 or 30 days of consecutive fasting based on the visual sighting of the crescent moon. This annual observance is one of the five pillars of Islam. 

How does fasting work during Ramadan?

The fast requires a healthy person to abstain from food, drink and sexual contact from dawn till dusk. Those who are ill, travelling, pregnant, nursing or elderly are exempt from fasting. Among the benefits of fasting, a few are:  

  • Enhancing a person’s discipline and willpower.  

  • Feeling compassion for the less fortunate, poor and needy.  

  • Developing a sense of community and generosity.  

  • Increasing one’s spirituality, patience and determination 

How much time does it take?

The fast here in Calgary during the summer months could last up to 16 hours, while in winter would be over the duration of 9-10 hours. During Ramadan, Muslims also congregate in the observance of special daily night prayers. These prayers last about 90-120 minutes as Muslims listen to the recitation of their holy text, the Quran. 

Things to consider:

This year, Ramadan is observed from March 11–April 10, 2024.  

Those observing will not eat or drink anything between 6:26 a.m. - 7:37 p.m. (day 1) to 5:14 a.m. - 8:24 p.m. (day 30).  

Unique considerations for International Muslim Students:  

  • Many international students do not have their families here for support  
  • They may be feeling a sense of loneliness and lack of community. Especially if they are from a Muslim majority country.  


  • Be inclusive in your approach to accommodate students; ask students how you can support their learning during this time and invite them to craft those plans with you.
  • Listen with openness; students benefit from the support of their professors and instructors and can feel a sense of belonging when their traditions are acknowledged and honored 
  • If you cannot answer their question or wish to understand better, you may seek consultation from the Faith & Spirituality Centre at interfaith@ucalgary.ca  
  • If an exam is scheduled in the late afternoon or evening, be aware that fasting students may be a bit fatigued or distracted. It is encouraged to allow them some additional breaks if possible.  
  • Allow a student to partake in a light snack if the class is scheduled during sunset. 
  • During the last ten days of Ramadan and the day marking the end of Ramadan known as Eid ul-Fitr, some students may be feeling particularly fatigued and could ask for a deferral of an assignment or exam. Where possible they should be accommodated 
  • Eid ul-Fitr (April 10-11 in 2024) marks the end of Ramadan and so students may need to take a day or two off to celebrate and/or be with their families. 

For more information, please check out the following articles:


Recommendations list created in collaboration with Fouzia M. Usman PhD, Educational Development Consultant (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion), Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning