David Jala (email@example.com)
The Ahmad family, owner and operator of Mian’s Restaurant in Sydney, took Wednesday off to celebrate the end of Ramadan at the Bai’t-ul-Hafeez Mosque on Grand Lake Road. The Ahmads were joined by about 20 other members of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim community for morning prayers prior to a feast that marked the end of fasting and their first daylight meal in more than four weeks.
SYDNEY, N.S. — Far removed from the historic centres of the Islamic world, a small group of Muslims gathered in a modest Cape Breton mosque on Wednesday to mark the end of Ramadan.
Then following morning prayers, members of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim community enjoyed their first daylight meal since their religion’s most holy month began some four weeks ago.
“Some people lose weight during Ramadan, but I think I gained a couple of pounds,” joked Athar Ahmad, a 25-year-old entrepreneur originally from Pakistan who moved to Sydney with his family seven years ago.
Athar, along with his brother Aamir, sister Sehrish, father Mian and mother Samina, took the day off from Mian’s Restaurant, the downtown Sydney eatery they own and operate, to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, or the end of Ramadan, at the Bai’t-ul-Hafeez mosque on Grand Lake Road.
Following prayers, those who gathered celebrated the end of the fast with a feast in the small but practical highway-side building that serves as the group’s house of worship.
Known as the “fasting month”, Ramadan falls in the ninth month of the lunar calendar-based Muslim year and adherence to its mandated fasting is considered one of the five pillars of Islam. During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to fast from dawn to sunset. They are obligated to refrain from eating, drinking and sexual relations. Those who fast must also avoid anger, jealousy and the utterance of bad words. And they are required to be charitable to the less fortunate.
The local Ahmadiyya (a Muslim revivalist movement claiming as many as 20 million members worldwide) community is led by a charismatic 27-year-old imam named Mubashir Ahmad Badar. He said Ramadan is all about reconnecting with God.
Imam Mubshir Ahmad Badar
“The most important aspect of Eid is getting together to express our gratitude to God for his blessing and bounties conferred on us,” said Badar, who said his community has embraced Cape Breton as a tolerant and wonderful place with few of the problems shared by most other parts of the world.
“And by staying hungry the whole day, it makes you realize how fortunate you are because there are so many people without food or water — I have seen it with my own eyes in Africa where I saw a little girl drinking from a dirty puddle, it was very sad.”
The imam, or prayer leader, also explained that men and women pray and feast separately as part of the commitment to keeping oneself free of all worldly distractions.
While Ahmadiyya Muslims are estimated to number between 10-20 million, it is believed there are 1.8 billion Muslims, comprising approximately one-quarter of the world’s population.
In 2020, Ramadan will start on April 24 and end on May 23.