The holiest month of the Islamic calendar has begun, and Muslims worldwide will observe this event by fasting from sunup to sunset.
Ramadan is a foundation of the religion, as this is the time the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad.
“This is one of the pillars of Islam,” Imran Zaka, the Imam of the Battlefords Mosque and Islamic Centre said. “All the Muslims who have power, meaning they are of good health, are obligated to fast. We also pray to God. It is God in English and the Arabic word is Allah. We also pray to our prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.”
Children, those who are sick or woman who are pregnant or breast-feeding are exempt from fasting. During this time, believers will not consume alcohol, smoke or engage in sexual relations.
In addition, Iman Zaka said Muslims should recite from their Quran this month.
“If we fast during the day and do our prayers, Allah will relieve us of all our sins at the end of the month. In fact we shouldn’t be doing any sins ever again. This is a month of forgiveness,” he said.
Once the sun sets, believers break their fast with an Iftar dinner. The fourth, and longest, of the five daily prayers is also performed which typically takes an hour.
The month of Ramadan contains two important days, Laylat al-Qadr which translates in English as “night of power,” and Eid-al-Fitr, a festivity marking the end of fasting. Laylat al-Qadr falls on an odd night during the last ten days of Ramadan and this one day is considered more holy than 1000 months of worship.
“After Ramadan we have the Eid celebration,” Zaka said. “Eid means happiness in Arabic. The day after Ramadan, we will have a break, then we will have prayer here at the Mosque and then we will have small activities for the kids.”
Zaka came to North Battleford in 2011 with his family. He started his Mosque not long after and has seen the Muslim community quadruple from 20 to 80 since his arrival.
His Mosque is still being renovated and he plans to have it completed this winter.
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