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Ramadan ends

December 27, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

Ramadan ends



MAUGANSVILLE - More than 250 Muslims from the Four-State area broke fast and prayed at the Maugansville Community Center on Wednesday morning to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

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During the month-long holy observance of Ramadan, Muslims do not eat, drink, smoke or have sex from sunrise to sunset, said Dr. Abdul Waheed, a Hagerstown physician.

They celebrate the end of Ramadan with the festival Eid.

"What is the meaning of Eid? Eid means the day of recurring happiness," speaker A.K. Hussain told worshippers.

Muslims should express happiness outwardly on Eid, even when they have lost someone close to them, said Hussain, who came from South Africa to lead the month of Ramadan at the Hagerstown mosque.

Eid is mentioned only once in the Quran, or Koran, the sacred book of Islam, said Hussain, who has memorized the Quran.

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"On this occasion of Eid, we don't come together just to enjoy," Hussain said. "This is the day of gratitude. This is the day of Thanksgiving for us Muslims."

Hussain's Eid message to Muslims in the local area and around the world was one of unity.

"We must remember how important unity is to Muslims, especially when we are a minority," Hussain said.

The beauty of Islam is complete integration, with Muslims living in various nations around the world, Hussain said.

Hussain urged local Muslims not to forget the plight of many Muslim refugees. Nor should Muslims forget their lives on earth are short, he said.

"My brothers and sisters, we must continue with our righteous deeds" and "maintain cordial relations with fellow citizens," Hussain said.

Muslims from Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia gathered at the community center to pray and break their fasts.

They can't even have a sip of water during daytime, Waheed said.

The fast is "to remind them of the people who are deprived of everything and to control their own desires like angels," who don't eat or drink, said Waheed.

Ramadan can last 29 or 30 days, depending on when the new crescent moon appears, according to Waheed.

The partial solar eclipse on Monday extended Ramadan by a day so it lasted 30 days this year, Waheed said. The crescent moon appeared Tuesday night, and Muslims started celebrating Eid on Wednesday.

In keeping with Islamic custom, the men and boys prayed in the front with the women and girls behind them, crowded in the back of the meeting room. The genders were separated by hanging bed sheets.

Dr. Mehrulleh Khan, president of the Islamic Society of Western Maryland, told worshippers he hoped they would be celebrating Eid in a new hall next year.

The society is raising funds to build the hall adjacent to their Day Road mosque, Waheed said.

For more information about Islamic culture, visit the Islamic Society of North America's Web site at www.isna.net.

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