Ramadan: How Manitoba’s Muslim Community Observes

WINNIPEG-

The province’s Islamic community is preparing to observe Ramadan as the calendar turns to April.

Ramadan is the holiest month for Muslims. It is believed to be when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

During the month of Ramadan, which is due to begin on Saturday, Winnipeg’s Muslim community will abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset and break their fast with iftar, an evening meal.

Tasneem Vali of the Islamic Association of Manitoba (MIA) says fasting is about self-control for submission to Allah, but it’s also about being aware of wanting to become a better person.

“So control your anger, be nicer to people, forgive people, and engage in charity,” Vali told CTV News on Thursday.

Vali said performing charitable deeds, which is a mainstay of Ramadan, is particularly important this year.

“With inflation and gas prices and what’s going on in the world, we’re seeing more food insecurity than we’ve ever seen before.”

Vali said the MIA distributes meals and food baskets during the month of Ramadan. The organization also provides social work and mental health initiatives.

The MIA also uses Ramadan as an opportunity to educate people.

On April 6, the association invites people to grab a free meal and tune in to a virtual presentation to talk about Ramadan and the experience of fasting.

Vali said he wants to connect with educators and employers to help them better understand what observing Ramadan entails. She said people who fast may not be as alert during the day and physical activity may be more strenuous.

“Basically, I like to call [Ramadan] boot camp to be a better person,” Vali said.

She said it involves being more compassionate, forgiving, merciful and helpful.

“It’s a reminder that we can be better people and also need to work on ourselves all the time.”

Ramadan ends on May 1.

The next day, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr – the feast of breaking the fast.

For more information on Ramadan, visit the Islamic Association of Manitoba website.

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