Muslims welcome Ramadan
By Hassan Isilow
JOHANNESBURG – Muslims in Mayfair welcomed the holy month of Ramadan on Friday with great excitement and enthusiasm. Hundreds of believers congregated in the many mosques in the area to perform their first Taraweeg salaah (Night Prayers). Nearly all masajid (Mosques) in Mayfair and its environs were filled to capacity, as believers welcomed the holy month of fasting.
On Saturday afternoon worshippers at the Mayfair Jumah Masjid were seen handing out donations to a number of beggars who had gathered outside, knowing that this was a special time of the year for Muslims.”I love the month of Ramadan, because I never starve during this month. Muslims are so generous and they give out a lot of donations to the poor,” one of the beggars told Africa Witness. The start of the holy month of Ramadan has also brought Muslims of different backgrounds together. The Somali community that has been divided along ethnic and political lines is largely united during Ramadan. As a tradition, Somali ulema (Preachers) strongly advocate unity in their sermons.
On a different note, most restaurants run by Muslims in Mayfair and Fordsburg are closed during the day and only open at sunset when Muslims break fast. Ramadan is the holiest month on the Islamic calendar. During Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
The sick and those travelling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks. Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah (God) through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds. Some South African mosques offer iftar (Food for breaking fast) to their worshippers. During Ramadan Muslim aid organizations in South Africa distribute cooked foods to the destitute and needy. Ramadan is a month when Muslims learn to develop self control and self inhibitions from rampant and uncontrolled pleasures. It is a month when Muslims forgive their enemies and hope to be forgiven.