News / USA

    American Muslims Gather to Break Fast

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Mohamed Elshinnawi

    Muslims often break their fast by drinking water and eating dates as the Prophet Muhammad did.
    Muslims often break their fast by drinking water and eating dates as the Prophet Muhammad did.

    The holy month of Ramadan is marked by fasting from dawn to dusk.

    Muslim Americans end each day of fasting with a festive meal known as Iftar. After a long day, they relax and share the rituals of Ramadan from sundown to the predawn hours.

    Coming together

    As the sun sets, several Muslim families gather in a Virginia home just outside of Washington, D.C. to break the daily fast together.



    Each family has brought a dish to share.

    "We pray, we thank God every night and it reminds me of Thanksgiving, and I am grateful to God because he is giving us thirty Thanksgivings, not only one," says Aida Mady, an interior decorator and member of the American Muslim Women Association, who is hosting the Iftar.



    Her husband, Ibrahim, is a physician. He graduated from Al Azhar University in Cairo, the oldest Islamic University in the world.

    "We break our fast drinking water and eating dates as the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, used to do," he says. "And then we go and pray our first night prayer and then come back and eat our Iftar."

    The five Muslim families attend the Iftar after a long day at work where they are surrounded by non-Muslims. Yusra Shawer, a policy analyst, copes with the challenge of being around people who are not fasting.   

    Increased devotion

    "I am always reminding myself that it is the time when I remember God, be close to him, have devotion for the religion, so it is not too bad."

    Ramadan is often a time of increased prayer and devotion.
    Ramadan is often a time of increased prayer and devotion.

    Ramadan is an opportunity for Muslim Americans to unify and discuss issues related to the community.

    "Despite the controversy over an Islamic cultural center in New York, we are sure that the principles of our founding fathers would eventually prevail," says Dr. Said Ali, a gynecologist in neighboring Maryland. "There is no doubt that we Muslim Americans thank God every day for the freedoms our country secured for us."  

    After the meal, the families perform the nightly prayer.

    "Ramadan nightly prayer is an expression of devotion and seeking forgiveness," says Ali Gamay, a businessman. "Each night we finish reciting one chapter of the holy Koran. By the end of the holy month of Ramadan we complete reciting the 30 chapters."

    Gamay is raising funds for a new Islamic Center in Northern Virginia. He says local Jewish and Christian leaders have expressed support for the project, especially since the center will include interfaith activities:

    "That is one huge function we would like to perform, which is to invite non-Muslims and start a dialogue about religions and make them understand more about Islam because the issue we notice in America is that most Americans really have never met a Muslim and they have no idea about Islam. We would like to promote understanding and open channels for communications."

    Giving to the less fortunate - these young Muslims are preparing bagged lunches for the homeless - is an important part of Ramadan.
    Giving to the less fortunate - these young Muslims are preparing bagged lunches for the homeless - is an important part of Ramadan.

    Helping others

    The young members of these families are following the tradition of helping those less fortunate during Ramadan.

    They've set up a group called, One Race, One Place.

    "This Saturday we are going to do something called Meals On Wheels and we basically will get together at a friend's house and bag as many lunches as we can possibly make for homeless people," says Dina Mohamed. "And we go down to the city and pass them out and see how many people we can feed."

    It's all part of the Ramadan tradition, getting closer to God and each other, while keeping the less fortunate in their thoughts.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora