QUEENSLAND – Every day in Ramadan, Murat Coskun and his family prepare their iftar meal to break the fast and share the spirits of the holy month with friends and strangers.
"Ramadan is a month of sharing; despite the background, race or religion, we share our food," Murat told ABC Local on Tuesday, July 30.
"It is also a time of charity."
Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, started in Australia on Wednesday, 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.
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.
For Muslim groups, Ramadan is an occasion to educate the wider public about the religious observance and the Islamic faith in general.
From the beginning of Ramadan, Coskun and his family have been sharing every evening meal with friends and strangers.
Same as Coskun, Muslim families in Brisbane invite 612 into their home as they break fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
The effort was part of a project initiated by the Queensland Intercultural Society, whose aim is to promote understanding and social inclusion in the community.
“According to Islamic teaching, Ramadan is the month where the bounties are multiplied, so a lot of Muslim's will save their charities for the month of Ramadan," Coskun said.
At the iftar, the family chooses to follow the tradition by breaking the fast with a date, before they follow with soup and the rest of the meal.
"During Ramadan, because we have been fasting all day, the dishes are a bit more extravagant I guess, but it is very similar to what we have outside of Ramadan," Coskun’s wife Canan said.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.
Islam is the country's second largest religion after Christianity.
Fasting is meant to teach Muslims patience, self-control and spirituality, and time during the holy month is dedicated for getting closer to Allah though prayers, reading the Noble Qur’an and good deeds.The majority of Muslims prefer to pay Zakah for the poor and needy during the month.
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