DELHI – Marking the fasting month of Ramadan, Indian Muslims have praised the government moves to accommodate the religious practices of the world's largest Muslim minority during the holy month.
“We are a minority in India, but we are allowed to enjoy the holy month of Ramadan,” Aftab Hamid of Delhi told OnIslam.net.
Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, started in India on July 10.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.
Seizing the holy month to purify their souls, Muslims usually change their routine to spend more time in prayers or Qur’an recitation.
Many Muslims also tend to change their work routine during this month as government and private jobs allow them to leave early for Iftar during the month of Ramadan.
“We are free to leave our job an hour earlier every day during Ramadan, so that we can join our family for iftar,” said Sakib Ahmed, a government employee in Bhopal city.
After long fasting hours, Muslims fill mosques across the country to pray special tarawih prayers.
In India, Quran recitation is organized from 10 to 27 days in different mosques across the country.
People have the option to attend these special prayers in whichever mosque they want. Some mosques even organize translation of Quran for devotees.
“I always go for a 10 day tarawih prayer. I am working in a private company and needs to travel a lot, “said Atiqur-rehman of Jabalpur town.
“This gives me an option to hear the Qur’an completely during Ramadan.”
During the holy month, special interfaith iftar meals usually connect Muslims with their neighbors.
“The majority community often participates in our iftar parties,” Hamid, the Muslim from Delhi, told OnIslam.net.
“They even organize such parties for their Muslim friends.”
Around the globe, Muslims observe Ramadan with a set of traditional rituals including family gathering at iftar, religious lessons, special evening prayer and helping the poor.
While prayer and fasting takes precedence, food and Iftar parties are just as much a part of India’s Ramadan.
The fast is traditionally broken with water and palm dates, an ages-old legacy passed down from Prophet Mohammed himself.
Fruits are of course a must-fruit salads grace many an iftar table.
“Almost all Indians break their fast with palm dates,” said Jawed Khan.
“Now people have a option of different varieties of dates. Now-a-days we are getting some of the best dates from Arabian countries.”
During Ramadan, Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer, self-restraint and good deeds.
The majority of Muslims prefer to pay Zakah for the poor and needy during the month.
There are some 140 million Muslims in Hindu-majority India, the world's third-largest Muslim population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.
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