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Islamic community celebrates holiest month

Islamic Society of Gladstone president Dzulkamal Ahmad passes out plates for “iftar”, a big meal taken after sunset.
Islamic Society of Gladstone president Dzulkamal Ahmad passes out plates for “iftar”, a big meal taken after sunset.

GLADSTONE'S Muslim community came together over the weekend to break their daily fast for Ramadan.

The Islamic fast requires followers consume no food or drink from dawn to sunset, with a break at sunset called the "iftar", a big meal taken with friends and family.

More than 30 families took part in Saturday night's iftar, held by the Islamic Society of Gladstone at the Catholic parish hall on Herbert St.

Originally from across the globe, the group has heritage stemming from India, Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Bilal Chishti said: "We're all from different communities and different cultures, but here everyone is sitting together and eating together".

Fahmina Syeda cooked a mass of lamb biryani for the dinner.

"I am used to feeding lots of people, I have a big family back in India," she laughed.

She has been in Gladstone for one year, where her husband works as a telecommunications engineer.

Syed Quadri, who has worked at the Boyne Smelters for seven years, said the men prayed five times a day, but during Ramadan they prayed more than usual.

Eight-year-old Deenah said it was her first year fasting, which was made easier because it coincided with school holidays.

"I like it when you open the fast and I like fasting," she said.

"At the end of Ramadan we have a big celebration.

"My mum asks me what special food we want when we break fast."

Her friend Afaaf said it was her second year fasting.

"It's easier this year," she said.

"You have to eat in the night and you can't eat until a certain time."

Asiah Ismail said fasting could show people compassion.

"We pray, we fast and we give to charity," she said.

She said those fortunate enough to visit Mecca, the holiest city in Islam located in Saudi Arabia, could have a spiritual experience.

"When you have completed the five pillars of Islam you feel blessed, it's a feeling I can't describe," she said.

Asiah has been to Mecca twice in her life.

Islamic Society of Gladstone vice president Mohammad Sultan, who has lived in Gladstone for a decade, said many families come to Gladstone because the men were professionals.

"There are lots of engineers who work at Yarwun and on the island," he said.

WHAT IS RAMADAN?

  • Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic Lunar calendar.
  • It is a time of spiritual and social rejuvenation through the ritual of fasting, which is looked upon by Muslims as one of the pinnacles of their devotion and love for God.
  • The conclusion of Ramadan is celebrated with a festival called "Eid-al-Fitr", meaning the feast of the fast-breaking. It is as important to Muslims as Christmas and Yom Yippur are to Christians and to Jews.

Topics:  gladstone, islam, muslim community, ramadan



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