Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Islamic Center of East Lansing celebrates Ramadan, promotes community

April 3, 2024
Photo by Zachary Balcoff | The State News

Within the month of Ramadan, many people throughout the world celebrate a time of fasting, abstinence, praying, and self-reflection. During this time, Muslims in East Lansing find companionship and community within the Islamic Center of East Lansing.

Islamic Center of East Lansing Trustee Thasin Sardar said that, in addition to fasting from dawn to dusk, "Muslims indulge increased spirituality, sharing meals with one another and increased charitable giving during this month." 

“The Islamic Center in East Lansing offers the space for the diverse Muslim community from across the Greater Lansing area to come together to observe and celebrate with everyone," he said

The center hosts many different events that offer chances to share a meal and a conversation with fellow attendees, Sardar said

“At sunset, the center offers a free meal to anyone who is fasting. Students, travelers and anyone who feels alone or seeking company to break their fast find this to be a welcoming avenue to break bread together with others. Additionally, the center invites all its members to a free community Iftar, the meal we break our fast with during Ramadan,” Sardar said. 

Before breaking fast, a call to prayer brings Muslims together every evening during this month, he said. After praying, the Iftar meal is shared.

The meals offered at the Islamic Center are sponsored by donations from the community, Sardar said

With fellowship and community, Ramadan is also especially about looking inward; meditating on the Quran and applying it to everyday life, he said

“Ramadan is also known as the month of the Quran, Islam's holy book. We try to read the book more this month with the goal of implementing lessons from it in our lives. A memorization and recitation competition is held during this month and prizes awarded. We strive to memorize the parts of the Quran and recite it during our daily prayers,” Sardar said.

Theater masters student Mona Eldahshoury said that she attends the Islamic Center frequently, and described it as a "beacon of practice."

"Ramadan to me is many beautiful things, but it is also a time to get as many good deeds as possible.” Eldahshoury said. "During Ramadan, the masjid also serves as a source of socializing for me. I’ve been introduced to multiple people from the community that I will remember years down the line. For example last week, I met a refugee who speaks six different languages and has survived a genocide."

She said that she has also made connections within MSU at the Islamic Center

"I’ve met MSU faculty and have started creating relationships that will have an impact on my hopefully future career as an academic," she said

Okemos High School student Areesha Shah looks to Ramadan as a time of celebration and joy; to be spent with people you love

“It may sound super serious and boring, but it really is not. At the end of Ramadan there is a big celebration called Eid Al-Fitr.  It is a religious holiday where everyone comes together for big meals with family and friends, exchange gifts, and generally have a lovely time,” Shah said.

“We are blessed to have such a great community in Mid-Michigan and the Islamic Center plays a pivotal role in bringing together the community,” Shah said. “The Islamic Center provides the venue for channeling our spiritual connections and making Ramadan more meaningful

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