Islamic Life In Nevada, And The End of Ramadan
Thursday night marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.
Ramadan commemorates the revealing of the Quran to the prophet, Muhammad. It’s a time of prayer, self-evaluation, and sunrise-to-sunset fasting for Muslims throughout the world.
Imam Aslam Abdullah is the director of the Islamic Society of Nevada told KNPR’s State of Nevada that Ramadan is a "special time" for the Muslim community.
He said it builds people's self confidence and they realize what they are able to endure, especially without water during the brutal heat of a Las Vegas summer.
Friday morning the Muslim community gathers for dawn prayers to celebrate the breaking of the fast with a feast, usually made up of sweet foods, a special prayer and a sermon.
Imam Abdullah will be giving this year's sermon. He said instead of focusing on spirituality, like he has been done in the past, he will focus on social issues.
"We want to focus on the social issues our city faces, pertaining to education, pertaining to homelessness, pertaining to crimes and how we has a community can contribute to the welfare and well being of the city," Abdullah said.
There is not one typical food that is eaten to end the fasting of Ramadan. The imam said because there are 73 different ethnicities represented in the Muslim community in Nevada they're able to try all kinds of different foods from around the world.
"That's a joy because it brings people closer to understanding each other," he said.
Abdullah said the end of Ramadan feast marks an accomplishment both physically and spiritually for the Muslim community, "fasting is not only about physical endurance it is also about spiritual enhancement."
Families also exchange gifts or money at the end of Ramadan and mosques will often hold fairs.
Although Muslim communities in other parts of the country have suffered hatred and even violence, Imam Abdullah said his community has not had to endure the same kind of prejudice.
"Muslims in Nevada are fortunate that they have a community that understands them," he said, going so far as to say that Las Vegas could be a "role model" to the rest of the country.
He said people around the valley from the interfaith community to Las Vegas Metro Police have shown support.
"I hope I'm right that we have earned the trust of the community in general here," Abdullah said. "We mean no harm."
Imam Aslam Abdullah, director, Islamic Society of Nevada