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Ramadan begins…. July 21, 2012

Posted by hamiltonmuslims in News.
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Ramadan begins, local Muslims celebrate in new mosque

Ramadan has come full circle for Dr. Raza Khan.

When Khan was 15, he celebrated the Islamic holy month at the community’s then-new mosque on Upper Gage Avenue. The family physician still remembers the building was in “disrepair” and the grass was waist-high.

“It was July back then. And now I’m 45,” Khan said Friday, the first day of the month of fasting.

“Basically, it came full circle because now we have our new mosque and we’ve come so far … There’s still that sense of community, closeness.”

This is the first Ramadan local Muslims will celebrate at the Mountain Mosque’s new facility on Stone Church Road East – a project that was decades in the making.

There were about 3,000 people packed into the main prayer hall Thursday night and they expect each night to be just as full, Muslim Association of Hamilton (MAH) spokesperson Kamran Bhatti said.

“It’s a time where Muslims will tend to reconnect with the mosque, reconnect with the Koran, and to reconnect with each other,” he said. “Because of this centre being built from the ground up by the Muslim community … it’s that much more special.”

The Mountain Mosque is also hosting prayers for Eid-ul-Fitr, the festival of breaking the fast at the end of the Muslim holy month, on Aug. 19

The Hamilton Downtown Mosque is opening up its daily iftar (evening breaking of fast) program to the public, and will have nightly prayers that are expected to bring out up to 300 people, the mosque’s imam Sayed Tora said.

To celebrate Eid, the mosque on Wilson Street is handing out gifts for children in the community, Tora said.

Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset every year during the sacred month. Each year, Ramadan starts 11 days earlier, based on the lunar calendar.

There are about 30,000 Muslims in Hamilton, Bhatti said, adding they will fast for about 17 hours each day this year.

“Whether you’re a king or a whether you’re a janitor, you have to do this; every Muslim must do this,” said Khan, who is on the Mountain Mosque’s board of directors.

“It’s good to know what hunger feels like – what thirst feels like.”

The Mountain Mosque, the Umar Mosque on Rennie Street, the North American Spiritual Revival and the Bosnian Islamic Centre in Stoney Creek have organized a Ramadan food drive with donations going to Neighbour2Neighbour.

The Downtown Mosque is also collecting non-perishable food items and household goods during the month to distribute to needy families in the downtown area.

“(Ramadan) brings the community closer,” Tora said. “It gives a sense of sharing and feeling for the less fortunate – whether they are here in our local community or overseas.”

For prayer times during Ramadan, visit http://www.hamzamkhan.com/moonphases.php.

dawong

905-526-2468 | @WongatTheSpec

Source:
http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/765285–ramadan-begins-local-muslims-celebrate-in-new-mosque

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