This marks the first time the Abubakar Asiddiq Islamic Center is observing the month of daytime fasting in its new location on Industrial Mile Road.
Today, the mosque will hoist a tent in the parking lot under which Muslims are to gather with non-Muslims each evening at sundown to eat dates and drink water and milk, pray and then share a potluck meal. Neighbors include a nearby church and a senior-citizens center, said Horsed Nooh, center director.
“We want them to join us and to get to know a little bit about Ramadan and why we fast,” he said.
Nooh said the congregation also is holding a Mercy on Wheels food drive for the homeless and hungry. He said Ramadan fasting, which lasts from sunrise to sundown, and reconnecting to God provide a pathway through which he can mobilize the community to donate.
“Ramadan to me is that month where I feel my soul, reconnect my soul to its creator, and so subside from the desire of my body,” he said. “That’s my vision — to bring together the community and once again reconnect ourselves and to feel what the homeless, the hungry, the needy are going through.”
Sheik Mohamed Moalin, the mosque’s imam, said the new center replaces one 2 miles away that had become congested. It accommodates about 1,000 in a men’s praying area and 450 more in a women’s area, and Nooh expects it to be filled during some nights of Ramadan.
“We’re very excited now that we have this big, beautiful center which our community collaboratively built. ... And we will do more, a lot of community service,” Moalin said in Somali translated by Nooh.
Among the messages Moalin delivers during Ramadan is that it is a holy month when God promises to forgive sinners and give mercy to whoever asks for it. He also asks the community to pray for everyone and to not only fast from food but also from lying, cheating, back-biting, spreading rumors and harming creation.
“We feel this brings the people closer, and there is a tradition we call hadith, where our prophet says whoever fasts only from food and drink but keeps lying, cheating, hurting people — God is in no need of his fasting,” Moalin explained through Nooh. “Also, we tell our community to be merciful to their neighbors and to their society because you’re also fasting from hurting or lying or harming the creations.”
Ramadan marks the month when Muslims believe their Quran scripture was revealed, so they are asked to read the full text at least once during the month.
The belief is that staying away from what is permissible will allow Muslims to more easily refrain from what is not permissible once the month is over, Moalin said.
“The month of Ramadan is a training month. It’s a reformation for the soul,” he said. “So when the month is finished, the person will not go back to whatever he was doing before, but he will instead climb the ladder higher and higher and just be a good human being. That’s actually the essence of Ramadan. ... Try to be a more beautiful human being.”