Over a billion Muslims worldwide are celebrating Ramadan, a month-long spiritual journey which started on June 18, where they participate in activities like fasting and donating extra to charities that help the less fortunate.
Following the success of their “Meet a Muslim Family” campaign, the Canadian Ahmadiyya community is now inviting people to “Fast with a Muslim Friend.”
“The campaign is for us to get together with another community member in town. Canadians will learn to start, keep and break a fast as well as learn about why fasting during Ramadan is important for Islam,” said Muzaffar Ahmed, secretary for external affairs for Lloydminster’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community. “Fasting during this holy month teaches self-control, discipline and inspires awareness of those who are less fortunate.”
Through this new campaign the Muslim community looks to share the experience of Ramadan with their fellow Canadians and much like the previous “Meet a Muslim Family” campaign, also hopes to remove misconceptions about the religion of Islam and bridge any gaps that might exist between Canadians.
Ahmed says fasting is important because it serves as a way to remember the hunger in the world as there are billions of people out there who still go without food.
“So that’s why Islam teaches to remember those people who are less fortunate,” he said. “And this is not only in Islam, this is common in all religions, like Christians do their fasts and Hindus do their fasts and the Buddhists, they all do their fasts in different ways.”
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are also encouraged to give extra alms, which are charitable donations. Ahmed says they normally give to charities all year round but during Ramadan it is especially important.
“Our Imam and our Prophet Muhammed teaches us to give lots of money in this time because this is a time God comes closer to the people. The reason for lots of money to the charities is to spend for the poor for clothes and food and things like that.”
Ahmed also wanted to take some time to condemn the recent vandalizing of the Lloydminster Gospel Fellowship Church. He said the local Ahmadiyya Muslim community wants to bring local leaders of all religions together and educate people about love and tolerance between different faiths.
“Last year, we did a symposium at the Vic Juba (theatre) and five different state leaders came there and they taught about the commonality in religion and this year we’re doing the symposium again in September. This is the main thing, to bring people and educate them.”
People who want to sign up for the “Fast with a Muslim Friend” campaign can do so by visiting www.fastwithmuslims.com.