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Ramadan ESM Project

Does Ramadan Serve as a Naturalistic Intervention to Promote Muslim American Adolescents’ Daily Virtues? Evidence from a Three Wave Experience Sampling Study

Project Overview:

This study is a natural quasi-experiment to examine the development of religiosity and virtues among Muslim American adolescents before, during, and after Ramadan using online surveys and experience sampling surveys. We wanted to examine whether Ramadan heightens Muslim American adolescents’ connectedness to Allah, self-control, patience, compassion, gratitude, shame and guilt. We used experience sampling surveys prior to, during, and after Ramadan to capture daily nuances in adolescents’ religiosity and underlying processes that foster their daily virtues. Rather than capturing behavior or feelings retroactively over a vast period of time (e.g., “Think about how you have felt over the past year”), ESM methods allow us to capture behaviors and feelings during normal daily life, as they are happening in real time – what’s called “situational.” This method also allows us to understand how people change compared to themselves, rather than to the rest of the study sample. This study is the first to provide systematic quantitative investigation regarding the effects of Ramadan on the within-person changes in daily virtues of Muslim American adolescents before, during, and after Ramadan.

Meet the Team:

This project was a collaboration between Drs. Sarah Schnitker and Merve Balkaya-Ince (Research Lead) at Baylor University, Dr. Madiha Tahseen of The FYI, and Dr. Osman Umarji.

Ramadan ESM Project

Dr. Sarah Schnitker

Ramadan ESM Project

Dr. Merve Balkaya-Ince

Ramadan ESM Project

Dr. Madiha Tahseen

Ramadan ESM Project

Dr. Osman Umarji

Publications and Presentations


Check out these resources which help you apply the research findings into your daily lives!


Ramadan ESM Project

Ramadan Toolkit

The Family and Youth Institute has prepared this toolkit with practical tips to nourish your spirituality and well-being this Ramadan....


Ramadan ESM Project

Episode 1: Growing Patient in Ramadan

About the Episode Ramadan, patience, self control, compassion – how are these words related to one another? While we wrestle...


Ramadan ESM Project

Episode 2: To Stop or to Keep Going? Self Control After Ramadan

About the Episode Did you know that there are different types of self control? In this episode, we discuss two...

The Prophet (SAS) said, “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days”

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Zakat eligibility of The FYI

The Family & Youth Institute, or The FYI, is a well-known Muslim organization in the United States. It works to promote mental health and wellness by strengthening and empowering individuals, families, and communities through research and education. It has been working for many years to bring Islamic perspectives to understanding and promoting mental health in our communities.

It is dedicated to serving and supporting Muslims – safeguarding our deen, our families, and our future generations. Therefore, the work of The FYI comes in the category of ‘fi sabeelillah’ or the Path of Allah, within the eight categories where Zakat money can be used.

Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah, and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah, And Allah, is Knowing and Wise.”
(Al-Tawbah 9:60)

According to scholars who widen the meaning of fee sabeelillah to include any activities that promote Islamic growth, The FYI is indeed eligible to receive part of the Zakat funds for its programs and services. I urge Muslims in America to support this organization through their donations, general charity, and through their Zakat. I ask Allah swt to strengthen and guide The FYI to continue its good work in supporting Muslims.

Shaikh Ali Suleiman Ali, PhD

About Shaikh Ali

Sh. Ali Suleiman Ali was born in Ghana where he spent his childhood studying with various Muslim scholars. He then moved to Saudi Arabia and enrolled in the Islamic University of Madina.  He graduated with a degree in both Arabic and Islamic Studies. Dr. Ali went on to complete his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Sh. Ali serves on the Advisory Council of The Family & Youth Institute. He is the Senior Imam and Director of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton, Michigan. Additionally, he serves as the Director of Muslim Family Services in Detroit and is a council member of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). He is also a member of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF) and the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).