Monday, September 25, 2006
There are more than one billion Muslims around the world, and some 8 million Muslims in North America observing this holy month with prayer, fasting and reflection.
In San Diego County there are 15 mosques, the largest being the Islamic Center of San Diego in Clairemont. This weekend, hundreds of Muslims kicked off Ramadan in the traditional way. During the daylight hours, Muslims abstain from food and drink. Then, observers break the day’s fast each evening with a small meal. The idea is to practice self-control, purify the body and mind, as well as remember the suffering of the poor. There is also a nightly prayer in which Muslims are called to reevaluate their lives and re-focus on the worship of god, or Allah. Imam Taha Hasane says the message of Ramadan is one of peace, especially important with so much violence in the Middle East.
Imam Taha Hasane: We are here to live all together. We are here to work all together for the betterment of our society. Islam is the region of peace and justice. We condemn all actions, or all acts of terrorism, that harm the human life, that harm the properties of people, harm the dignities and the honor of people.
Imam Taha says while the mosque does not take a political view on the war in Iraq, Ramadan is a call to live in harmony and provide a safe, secure environment for future generations. He says it’s important for people of different faiths to understand each other. The Islamic Center’s doors are open to the public for the evening prayers of Ramadan, as well as the five daily prayers throughout the year. The Center also offers classes in English on Islamic beliefs.
Ramadan ends on October 23 with a festival and feast. As Muslims come together to celebrate, they’re also obligated to share their blessings by feeding the poor and making contributions to mosques.