By Sikander Hashmi
For many of Kingston’s Muslims, today’s lunch will be their last for the next 30 days.
Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, begins tonight. For healthy Muslim adults, that means absolutely no food, drink or sex between dawn and sunset. The pre-dawn meal (called suhoor) will be taken before 4 a.m. and the fast-breaking meal (iftar) will be at sunset, just before 9 p.m. Since Ramadan is also the month of the Qur’an, special nightly prayers will be offered during which a portion of the Qur’an will be recited from memory. This way, recitation of the entire book will be completed by the end of the month.
With Ramadan occurring in the summer months nowadays, staying healthy and hydrated is a top concern for many Canadian Muslims. Those who are unable to fast – due to illness or infirmity, for example – are exempt and can make up fasts later when the days are shorter. If that’s not possible, they can feed the needy as expiation.
But even many Muslims who are able to fast are increasingly thinking about feeding others during the holy month. Ramadan is not just about fasting. It’s also the month of charity, patience and mercy.