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Ramadan, the month of fasting and feast, begins in Australia today Print E-mail
Written by The Australian   
Thursday, 18 June 2015


Abdulrahman Mawar and wife Asma Yusra at their home in Lakemba. Picture: Renee Nowytarger Source: News Corp Australia


Muslims across Australia and much of the Pacific will bid each other “Ramadan Mubarak” or “May your Ramadan be blessed” from today, as they begin a month of fasting and feasting over the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

Husband and wife Abdulrahman Mawar and Asma Yusra are happy to live in the heart of celebrations in the western Sydney suburb of Lakemba, where the large Islamic population will fast from sunrise to sunset.

“We believe that when you deprive your physical body of food, your spiritual body becomes more aware,” said Ms Yusra, who works as a Medicare Local project manager.

“Your soul yearns for Ramadan to come because it knows that it is the time when you can be in touch with your inner self and work on your relationship with God.”

The 27-year-old said cathartic self-examination takes place during a month defined by community and congregation.

“With extra prayers at night you get to see your family and friends in a situation that is very holy and spiritually uplifting,” she said. “It is also to connect with human­ity and those who are less fortunate.”

She will volunteer with community organisation Mission of Hope, visiting hospitals and nursing homes to spend time with those less fortunate as well as preparing food hampers for asylum-seekers, refugees and the homeless. “How can you break your fast when you know that someone else isn’t doing so well?” she said. “It is a time to let people know this is our Christmas and time for celebrating and sharing.”

Religious studies teacher Mr Mawar, 27, is a Hafiz, someone who has memorised the Koran in its entirety.

He uses Ramadan to reinforce that practice. “For me it is also a revision of the Koran so I will read one of the 30 parts each day over Ramadan,” he said.

The period was characterised by a collective and concerted expression of gratitude. “We can be thankful to Allah for creating us, thankful that we have friends and thankful that we have food,” he said.

At the Islamic Council of Victoria in Melbourne, Jeffcott Mosque caretaker Mensur Cosic is busy lining up the city’s most philanthropic feasts of the festival and providing complimentary Iftar, the traditional sundown meal to break the Ramadan fast.

“We are trying to feed 300 people every night,” said Mr Cosic, who will co-ordinate food donations from local businesses for the next 30 nights.

About 10,000 people were fed last year during the month. They included Muslims without family in the country to break the fast with, and homeless atheists who had heard about the free meal.

Published: 18th June 2015 | Source: The Australian

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