Delaware experiences heightened faith during Ramadan

During the sacred month of Ramadan, certain individuals may find solace in temporary prayer spaces.

Some people in Delaware choose to express their faith by visiting fully-established mosques.

Devotion remains of utmost importance wherever people gather. This is particularly true amidst the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, where faith holds great significance and intensity.

Faisal Chaudhury, a board member of the Islamic Society of Delaware and a resident of Middletown, emphasizes the interconnectedness of the global Muslim community. He believes that when a Muslim experiences suffering, it resonates worldwide.

During these challenging times, the Muslim community faces a unique struggle as they strive to maintain their unity and collective identity. Muslims view themselves as a single entity, much like a human body. Consequently, when one part of the body suffers, the pain is felt by the entire body.

According to the analogy, when the people in Gaza and Palestine suffer, the entire community feels the pain. In mosques across different countries, there is a consistent emphasis on prayers for peace and an end to the violence in Palestine and Gaza.

During Ramadan, approximately 100 Muslims come together every night in a school located in the Middletown area to participate in prayers, as shared by Mr. Chaudhury. This period began on March 10 and will continue until April 9.

In Dover, the Islamic Society of Central Delaware resident scholar and Imam, Arqum Rashid, along with others, convene at a mosque to carry out the same practice.

According to him, approximately 800 attendees gathered for an afternoon session on Friday, while the attendance for evening prayers usually ranges between 400 and 500 people.

During Ramadan, Muslims observe the tradition of fasting from sunrise to sunset as a way to practice their faith, as stated in the Quran. Imam Rashid has been observing this tradition since his childhood.

“I’ve been fasting since I was quite young because I was born into a Muslim family,” he shared. “Children typically begin fasting at different ages. Initially, some kids may fast for only one day a month, while others may fast for a few days within the month.”

Families often celebrate the first time their child fasts by sharing cultural festivities.

According to him, fasting serves the purpose of shifting one’s focus from physical nourishment to spiritual nourishment.

“There is a greater sense of community and communal worship. It allows for more connections with individuals who are on a similar journey as you. Therefore, it becomes a cherished and significant moment.”

Ramadan holds a special place in Sobia Choudhri’s heart as her most cherished time of the year in Dover.

“It’s a special time when you have the opportunity to strengthen your bonds with the community, your family, and your connection with God. For me, personally, I make an effort to dedicate more time to reading the Quran. Reflecting on its teachings brings me closer to God with each passing year.”

82 sophomores from St. Andrew’s School also attended the gathering on Friday. According to Terence Gilheaney, the chair of the Religion and Philosophy Department at the Middletown-based facility, the school has been bringing students to the mosque for over 30 years.

During their time in Wilmington, students have the opportunity to visit a Jewish synagogue and a Hindu temple. Additionally, they also get to explore the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

According to Mr. Gilheaney, it is essential for individuals from various religious backgrounds to have exposure to all faiths in order to understand their humanity as well as their distinctiveness.

Visiting the mosque not only exposes us to the incredible diversity within the Muslim community in Delaware but also provides a unique opportunity to witness firsthand the essence of worship. Simply reading about religious practices falls short in capturing the true experience of devotion.

“I believe it is crucial to fully experience something, to see it, hear it, and engage all of your senses.”

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MBS Staff
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