Detroit Muslims begin month-long fasting period of Ramadan
- By Oralandar Brand-Williams
- The Detroit News
Detroit—Local Muslims will begin the month-long observance of the Muslim holy period of Ramadan today.
It is marked by 30 days of fasting, dawn to dusk, and daily prayers. Muslims also refrain from sex, smoking, drinking and other excessive activities.
“The vast majority of mosques in Metro Detroit will start fasting (today) while some will start on Saturday,” said Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, Michigan. “This is a yearly issue pertaining to a difference of opinion on if the crescent moon should be sighted anywhere in the world or if it has to be sighted in one’s own country or hemisphere. For instance, Saudi Arabia and UAE declared that Ramadan starts on Friday; however, their neighbor Oman will start on Saturday.”
In the past few years, Ramadan has been observed during summer. In Metro Detroit, Muslims have been faced with hot and humid weather.
“These are the longest and hottest days for those of us in the faith who fast during Ramadan,” said Walid, who noted that keeping hydrated is key and also balancing the intake of food during the iftar, the evening meal when the fast is broken for the day during Ramadan.
He said those with illnesses can be exempted from fasting or can fast at a later time. Some mosques will allow people who are not physically able to fast, such as those who are diabetic, to donate money to a local soup kitchen to feed a hungry person for a month in place for fasting.
It is also a time of worship and reflection, as well as a time of strengthening family ties and community.
Imam Abdullah El-Amin of the Muslim Center in Detroit urges Muslims to make sure they are well-nourished by making sure they don’t skip the pre-dawn meal, called the suhoor, and drinking plenty of water before the daily fast begins.
“We go from 4 a.m. to 9 at night without any food or water,” he said. “Therefore, we have to have some real spiritual connection to make it easier.”
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120720/METRO/207200348#ixzz21A14HcoP