Burton — Men in colorful clothing whirl to energetic singing, chanting and drumming, while the rest of the attendees sing and dance along in a communal celebration of breaking their Ramadan fast Tuesday, June, 4.

During the celebrations, Hasan Siddiqui of Tyrone Township watches, sings and films the events via camcorder. His wife, Leona, minds their three small children and Hasan’s little sister upstairs.

Several members of the As-Siddiq Institute and Mosque are from Fenton or Tyrone Township. These include the Siddiqui family and several others. The mosque’s spiritual leaders also live in Tyrone Township.

Other “Eid al-Fitr” activities included giving gifts and greetings, a carnival for children and a feast downstairs. This three-day festival marks the end of one of the most significant annual events for Muslims, and is one of the pillars of their faith.

The end of Ramadan means the end of fasting for 16 hours each day. During the 30 days of Ramadan, Muslims don’t eat or drink even water, and abstain from leisure activities they’d normally enjoy.

“It’s a very beautiful experience, Ramadan,” Hasan said. “You’re obviously not eating, you don’t drink, you don’t have relations with your spouse, all worldly desires are cut off during the day. Your focus is completely on trying to better yourself.”

He said Ramadan is a time of self-critique and self “auditing” to avoid being selfish or unkind. Being charitable is required. They also pray significantly more, and some congregations will read the entire Quran in 30 days.

The first three days of fasting is the most difficult. Leona is a stay-at-home mother of small children. “It can be a little ugly the first week,” she said. After that, the family settles into a rhythm. The body adapts to fasting and it’s a little easier.

Their children don’t fast, but they are aware of the season and have things like a Ramadan calendar, similar to an advent calendar with candy and a reading from the Quran each day.

It depends on the family and the congregations, but total fasting can sometimes begin around the age of 13.

The Ramadan schedule

Ramadan is known to Muslims as the month of community, and their activities are designed to bring them together as a congregation.

The Siddiquis wake at approximately 3 a.m. to eat breakfast as a congregation at the mosque. Then they pray from 4 to 6 a.m., and then sleep for a couple hours until waking up. Then they fast all day, and break fast at 9 p.m. again as a congregation at mosque. They pray from 10:30 p.m. to 11:45 a.m. and then go home to sleep until the next day begins.

“It’s definitely a month to be a little less physically active,” Leona said.

Some Ramadan seasons are very hot, but this year they benefitted from the mild, cool spring.

Did you know —

Believe it or not, participants tend to gain weight during Ramadan. “It’s also a ‘believe-it-or-not’ for a lot of Muslims,” Leona said with a laugh. This is because the body adapts to fewer calories and when the fasting ends and they feast, they can gain weight.

Islam is one of the three “Abrahamic” faiths, which include Judaism and Christianity, which claim the prophet Abraham as their forefather. Islam reveres Israelite prophets such as Jesus. Hasan said Muslims are also waiting for the second coming of Jesus.

“There’s so many commonalities,” Leona said, between the main monotheistic religions. “It’s not as different as you think.”

Ramadan is a celebration of the month that God, or Allah, revealed the sacred texts to the Prophet Muhammad. According to The Independent, The tablets of Ibrahim, the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel and the Quran were sent down during this time.

Photo called: sending separately

Nurjihan Torabi of Fenton makes her way through the dense Eid celebration crowd Tuesday, June 4, in Burton. Several Fenton area residents attend Mosque here, and are celebrating their month of Ramadan coming to an end. Photo by Tim Jagielo

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