Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Adventures in Islam, Part III

This one is a little bit shorter...

My second interview was with my initial contact, Faisal. He too is a married father of young children: a daughter who is six, and two sons, five and three. He appears to be an unassuming man, with a kind face and a gentle manner. He immigrated from Pakistan several years ago, and after three years in Toronto, moved to [town], where he now works as a traffic engineer. He said that he found the move a challenge to his faith, that it became stronger when he was more independent from the extensive support network he had in Toronto. He spoke of what it was like to “do Ramadan” alone, and what it was like to own his belief, “understand the importance and significance of [his] faith”.

Faisal explained to me some of the details of Ramadan, and while I knew of the fasting, I was surprised to learn that Muslims are also instructed to refrain from drinking, even water, between dawn and dusk during the holy month. The rules of when one is to eat during Ramadan are also very specific: no more than ten minutes after sunset. Faisal pointed out that expectant mothers, children and the elderly or infirm are not required to fast during daylight hours, but may and do join in the communal feasts that occur after the sun goes down. The entire community is more involved during Ramadan, and instead of only having the monthly potluck, the mosque arranges feasts twice weekly, on Saturday and Sunday nights. The month of Ramadan is very social. Faisal noted that he “feel[s] blessed having other Muslims” with him, whether they are also fasting or not. It seemed that Faisal had benefited both from times of social famine and feast in his spiritual life. He is quite apparently fond of his fellow believers, and told me a little about from where some of them had come, one in particular stood out, because of recent readings about genocide in Bosnia, and so I asked if he would introduce me to his brother from Kosovo.


Want to start at the beginning? Part I is here.

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