Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Ramadan in America


Like billions of Muslims worldwide, Mohammad Arshad is charging his battery to welcome the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

“The fast gives you inner strength and makes you think a moment before doing something,” Arshad told PennLive website on Friday, August 21.

“It's a time to overhaul our souls."

Arshad, a cook, is preparing to spend his time during Ramadan in worshipping and getting closer to Allah.

The American Muslim, who spends his days making fried chicken, hamburgers and other food, plans to shy away from taking part in any food while he is at work during the fasting month.

"Yes, you get hungry and thirsty especially when you work with food," Arshad said. "But after the first 10 days, you get used to it.”

Ramadan, the 9th month of Islamic calendar, is set to start in North America on Saturday, August 22.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Most dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through self-restraint, good deeds and prayer.


Filled with the spirit of the holy fasting month, Fatima Nelson is curious to bring Ramadan flavor to her colleagues at Gloucester County College.

The US Muslim woman, of Moroccan origin, spent hours to prepare chabbakia, a traditional Moroccan dessert, which is a usual item on iftar in Ramadan, for her classmates.

The sticky dessert of fried dough flavored with orange blossom water and coated with sesame seeds and honey won cheers from her classmates.

"It's a new family," joyous Nelson told the CourierPost on Friday, August 21.

Many US Muslims find Ramadan as an opportunity to introduce their culture in the US.

Many host iftar banquets for non-Muslims to help them get a better knowledge of the Islamic faith.

"We see that so much more," said Afsheen Shamsi, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations-New Jersey (CAIR-NJ).

"Just about every major mosque hosts an interfaith iftar."

Ramadan, the 9th month of Islamic calendar, is set to start in North America and most Muslim countries on Saturday, August 22.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Most dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through self-restraint, good deeds and prayer.


With mosques in the southern US state of Virginia are already bursting at the seams with worshippers, Muslims are turning to synagogues to perform prayers during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

"We say our prayers, and a few hours later they meet for Sabbath and they say their prayers," Rizwan Jaka, a leader at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) mosque in Sterling, told the Washington Post on Saturday, August 22.

Last year, ADAMS rented spaces at two synagogues to accommodate the growing numbers of Muslims worshippers during Ramadan.

"People may think it's strange or odd, but we are simply grateful for the space."

There are a few number of mosques in Virginia, leaving the already existent worship of places unable to accommodate the growing numbers of worshippers.

Several mosques have been built in Virginia suburbs such as Manassas and Ellicott City, but many have been full from the moment they opened.

To meet the overflow, Muslims started renting hotel ballrooms, office space and synagogues to handle the problem.

"We are a community with many people but not so much money," Mohammad Mehboob, a community leader, told the Post.

"But Allah has always provided for us."

Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, started in the US, home to between six to seven million Muslims, on Saturday.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Most dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through self-restraint, good deeds and prayer.


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