York mosque plans special Ramadan food giveaway

Ramadan is underway and that means for one month, Muslims will take in no food or water from sunup to sundown.

Ramadan, which began July 9 and ends Aug. 8, is the centerpiece of the Islamic faith and the month in which Muslims believe the Quran was revealed. And, because it now occurs during the summer, it’s become more challenging for followers.

(Left to right) Hira Ahmed, 13; Ohanna Mohammad, 13; and Sanya Ahmed, 12, all of York Township, eat dessert together in the women's section in the Masjid At-Tawheed mosque on Saturday, July 21, 2012. Sunni Muslims in the York area gather for communal dinners each Saturday during Ramadan at Masjid At-Tawheed in York, for the breaking of fast. (File photo)

(Left to right) Hira Ahmed, 13; Ohanna Mohammad, 13; and Sanya Ahmed, 12, all of York Township, eat dessert together in the women’s section in the Masjid At-Tawheed mosque on Saturday, July 21, 2012. Sunni Muslims in the York area gather for communal dinners each Saturday during Ramadan at Masjid At-Tawheed in York, for the breaking of fast. (File photo)

Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Ramadan migrates throughout the seasons. For the next 10 years or so, Ramadan will occur during the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere.

I wrote last year about the challenges associated with the no-water edict when temperatures hover in the 90s.

Exempt from fasting are pregnant or nursing mothers, prepubescent children and anyone with a medical condition. Anyone who is taking medication during the day should not fast, either.

“It is not meant to be detrimental to someone’s health,” said Anwar Arafat, the imam at Al-Noor Mosque near downtown Salt Lake City, told the Religion News Service. “In fact, fasting for them is a sin.”

I am continually fascinated by the traditions and sacrifices people make for their faith. Obviously, Lent is an important part of the Christian faith.

Let me hear from you — how does self-sacrifice strengthen your faith?

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I talked yesterday to Mujahid “Rick” Ramos, Imam of the congregation Masjid At-Tawheed in York. He outlined Masjid activities throughout Ramadan.

The mosque has special prayers called “taraweeh” every night, around 10:30 p.m. Every Saturday, a community “iftar” allows everyone to break their fast together as a community around 8:30 p.m. When Ramadan ends, Masjid will celebrate zakat-al-fitr. Zakat means “charity” and Al-Fitr means “breaking fast.”

“It is called zakat-al-fitr because it is a charity that is distributed to the needed just before the end of Ramadan,” Ramos said. “Usually on the last two or three days. Our community usually bring food items to the Mosque. We collect the items and then distribute them to needy families.”

About John Hilton

I grew up in Susquehanna County, Pa. and graduated Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism/political science in 1998. After working for nearly three years for a weekly paper in upstate New York, I came to southcentral Pennsylvania. I spent 13 years as a reporter and editor for The Sentinel in Carlisle and joined the York Daily Record as religion reporter in September 2011.
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