Every Ramadan, Irish Muslims enjoy a very peaceful and passionate time in which they come closer to Allah and to each other in the community.
Ramadan is a test, set by Allah, and “an opportunity to go nearer to God and praise him,” Khurrum Khan, an accountant who lives in Co Meath, told the Irish Times on Saturday, August
Abstaining from food, water or bad behavior during the thirty day fasting, Khan sees the holy month as an opportunity to overcome bad habits and come closer to Allah.
“There are hundreds of benefits to fasting in this month,” says Khan.
“It is not just about the fast. I am more spiritual and am doing more good deeds during this time than other months.”
Waking up at around 3.15am to partake a small predawn meal, called sohour, he shares Muslims around the world in around 18 hour fasting from dawn to dusk, a period considered impossible by many non-Muslims.
“When you have a strong passion and will to do something, it is not hard,” Khan said.
“People might expect that you would lose a lot of weight during Ramadan but actually, if you weigh somebody before and after, there can be a slight weight gain after the fast.”
Sharing the month’s spirituality, Bheendiya Qureshi considers Ramadan as an excellent opportunity to bring the family and the Muslim community closer.
Every day at breakfast, she shares iftar with her husband and four-year-old daughter with their friends.
Qureshi, who converted to Islam from Hinduism five years ago and lives in Dublin, is partaking in the fast this year despite being four months pregnant.
“I consulted with my doctor and he said it was fine to try it and see how I feel. I have been feeling fine with no disturbance so I will continue,” she says.
Waiting for the holy month every year, Mia-manan Hameed finds the holy month a great opportunity to find peace in mind the helps him all through the year.
“I find Ramadan balances my mind; it keeps me level,” Hameed, who run a popular restaurant, a food-importing business and a mosque in Dublin city centre, told the Irish Times.
Hameed Ramadan is always a busy month as his Sufi mosque on Talbot Street provides Iftar for up to 200 Muslims at 9.20pm every evening at no charge.
He stopped smoking in preparation for Ramadan, which he says is one of his favorite times of the year.
“I can get very angry but I am less so while fasting . . . It makes you bring yourself into contentment and shows you how strong your belief and discipline really is,” he said.
“I feel very spiritually balanced at this time.” Growing up in Dublin, Ramadan traditions are no longer strange for non-Muslims.
When he was a boy, at school in Dublin, he was teased for fasting. Yet, his children are having a different experience in the new multicultural society.
“It’s great to see how things have changed and how this country has become more diverse. My children’s generation are more accepting of different traditions.
“One Catholic friend of my daughter wanted to try it just to see what it was like, but I don’t think her mother was very keen.”
Yet, some non-Muslims are still wary when they hear about the practice.
“I meet people who think I am mad because I can’t drink and have a tea or coffee with them during fasting hours,” says Mudafar Altawash, who works at the mosque on South Circular Road in Dublin.
“They tell me I shouldn’t do it, that it must be bad for my health and I’ll be dehydrated. I tell them to try it one day: you will find nothing bad happens to you; some doctors even say it’s good for your health to give your stomach a rest for the month.”
Ireland is home to a Muslim minority of 45,000.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds. ARTICLE SOURCE