The Islamic month of Ramadan begins, as COVID-19 remains present

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Holy month of Ramadan begins tonight for Muslims across the world. With the ongoing pandemic, things will be much different from sunup to sundown.

“It is a month of building bonds, it is a month of solidarity,” said Director of Religious Affairs of Indianapolis Muslim Community Association, Imam Ahmed Alamine.

This year will miss a congregated prayer also known as the “Adhan Prayer” that usually takes place inside the Mosque bringing music to your ears and healing to the soul. It’s also the prayer to let Muslims know it’s time to pray.

“Ramadan is the month of relief, Ramadan is the month of hope, Ramadan is the month of community, Ramadan is the month of family. Unfortunately, this year this is not possible,” said Imam Alamine.

Ramadan is part of the five pillars of Islam, which include the profession of faith (Shahada), prayer (Salat), alms (Zakat), fasting (Swamm), pilgrimage (Hajj). For 30 days followers fast and don’t eat or drink from sunup to sundown.

“Fasting is more than just stop eating and drinking. Fasting is actually cleansing your mind, spirit, and body at the same time,” said Imam Alamine.

Every night during the holy month of Ramadan Muslims go to their local mosque for Iftar. That’s where fast is broken and Muslims pray together. It usually involved dozens if not hundreds of people but due to COVID-19 that can’t happen.

“This virus caused a unique challenge. Normally when people are going through difficult moments they come together. But this virus actually made us stay away from one another. And this is a special challenge that impacted every single human being because it’s in human nature to come together and support one another,” said Imam Alamine.

Instead, they will hold drive thru Iftar every night at 7 p.m., to help get their community through one of the most challenging months in the 1400 years of Islamic history.

“This is for the first time in history we are faced with this global challenge. And as Muslims for 1400 years we had never stopped praying together we have never stopped eating Iftar together we have never stopped Eid. But we believe this is a test from God and we need to be up to the test and pass it.”

Ramadan ends on Saturday May 23, followed by the celebration of Eid al-Fitr.

The Indianapolis Muslim Community Association has also created a Muslim task force to provide help with food, legal services, and financial hardship. It’s available for those who need it most not just Muslims. You can call their hotline at (317) 455-5361.

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