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Hot Weather a Challenge to Fasting Muslims

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

Hot weather during Ramadan is posing a challenge for Muslims who are fasting.

Seven months' pregnant Siti Nur Aqilla Omar, 27, said that fasting during pregnancy has been even tougher because of the heat.

''I was diligently fasting for the first few days of Ramadan until my doctor advised me to break the fast to ensure the health of my child.

''This is my first pregnancy and the heat has been quite a test for me,'' she said.

Senior construction site supervisor Kamarul Shamsul Zahari, 35, said he has been drinking a lot of water during sahur to face the hot weather as his work required him to be outdoors most of the time.

''It can be very challenging at times, as I have to stand under the scorching sun but I have not let this affect my job,''

''I just drink more water during sahur and after breaking fast in the evening,'' he said, adding that his two primary school going children, however, could not bear the heat and sometimes broke their fast earlier than they should.

Teacher P. Megana, 46, said that many of her students had been complaining of the humid weather.

In PETALING JAYA, a man who wished to be known only as Nizam, 27, said the thirst was hard to bear because of the heat.

Nizam, who was with his wife and child at a park to cool down said it was slightly cooler in his home state of Pahang.

Indian national Swaraj Dube, 20, who has been in Malaysia for five years, said people should not head straight to an air-conditioned area to escape the heat.

''I used to do that and fall sick quite often,'' he said.

''Now, I stand under a fan to cool down gradually before heading to a colder place,'' he said, adding that the humidity was worse than the heat in Malaysia.

''When the heat combines with the humidity, we sweat and feel hot. In India, it can be hot but still bearable because it is not so humid,'' he said.

Australian tourists Sarah Khang, 21, and Julia Khang, 18, said they did not mind the heat but the humidity made them feel tired and sweaty.

The Star

Florida Non-Muslims Enjoy Mosque Iftar

MINA

Miami, Florida, 11 Ramadan 1435/9 July 2014 (MINA) –Visitors from different faiths have joined an iftar meal at a Florida mosque which welcomed non-Muslims to join the festivities of the holy month and get a closer look on the Muslim community and fasting lessons.

''It was like the first time I visited Catholic Church,'' Stephanie Restrepo, who was raised as a Pentacostal, told Miami Herald. ''I wanted to actually learn what's inside, what's the process of their prayer,'' OnIslam quoted by Mi'raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting, Wednesday.

Going to the mosque iftar last week, Restrepo took her shoes off outside the mosque, donning a black-and-white hijab covering her hair as she imitated worshippers kneeling and bowing in the Maghrib prayer at the sunset.

Restrepo was one of roughly a dozen non-Muslims who attended the fifth annual open house at Masjid AnNoor, a mosque in west Kendall.

The 25-year-old was invited to the open house by her friend and colleague, Iram Qureshi. ''I was like, ‘Let's go, Stephanie, because you don't know exactly who we are,' '' said Qureshi, 36, of Kendall.

''It's always better to have more knowledge about different religions. It doesn't mean I am pressuring her. I was just like ‘Come, join me.' ''

Restrepo appreciated the invitation.

''I got a waterfall of information,'' said Restrepo, whose friend explained the layout and décor of the mosque to her.

''It's a lot of different customs that I'm happy to learn about.''

The event, co-sponsored by the Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations and EMERGE USA, always takes place during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

''The fast is self-discipline,'' said Imam Zakaria Badat, the leader of the congregation.

''If we can leave things aside for 12 hours or 16 hours, I think we do have the will and the power to leave them for the rest of the time.''

''We want to share with you tonight how the Muslim community here breaks their fast, and how we live within a society, within a community,'' Badat said to the group of non-Muslims who'd gathered to hear him speak.

Educating

Along with Restrepo, the event was attended by a number of Florida non-Muslims who wanted to get a better understanding of the Muslim friends' believes.

''I know what Ramadan is all about but I wanted to get a better insight,'' Bill Duquette, 58, also was invited by a work colleague, said.

''We have a lot of Muslim friends. This is great that they're reaching out to teach people.''

Sitting under a big white tent for iftar, Restrepo asked Qureshi about the reasons of fasting Ramadan.

''I would say it's the best lesson in how to be patient,'' Qureshi told her friend.

''It's the best way to feel how others are surviving without food for many, many days. We are just doing it from sunrise to sunset; it's not that bad.''

In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

The sick and those travelling 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.

Next to them, a lively discussion went of about religion, language and culture.

''Everybody is so welcoming,'' said Kyle Schulberg, deputy district director for Rep. Joe Garcia, who has attended the event in the past. ''I learned a lot.''

For Nidal Hozien, chair of the Islamic School of Miami, the school connected to Masjid AnNoor, these interactions make the evening worthwhile.

''I think the biggest thing is it debunks stereotypes that people don't know what's going on inside this domed building,'' Hozien said.

''It's not some mystical place. It helps a lot when we talk to people in this area.''

 

EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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