SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Ramadan began on Friday, April 1, and as part of the holy month of fasting, Muslims around the world have been fasting daily.
Abu Mustafa, a volunteer at the Islamic Society of Central New York in Syracuse, talked about how every day during Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink from dawn until dusk.
“We start in the morning at dawn until the sunset at the end of the day,” Mustafa said. “Then we will eat.”
At sunset, Muslims break their fast with a meal, known as iftar. Iftar is the second meal of the day for Muslims fasting during Ramadan, with suhur being a morning meal eaten before sunrise.
At the Islamic Society of Central New York, iftar is being used as a way to bring the Muslim community around Central New York together by eating as a community. These community iftars are prepared by a family of different national backgrounds and served for all attendees of evening prayer sessions to enjoy.
“All countries of the world, they come here,” Mustafa said. “Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Arabic, Syrian all come together.”
The community iftars are very well-received within the mosque and families look forward to preparing a meal for their fellow Muslims. Mir Hussaini, an administrative assistant at the Islamic Society of Central New York for the past 27 years, said that he had enough requests to prepare a meal from families to create a full schedule of community iftars for Ramadan, weeks before the holy month began.
“Families call us, country-wise, people call us,” Hussaini said. “They want to have a place reserved for the iftars in the evening.”
The most attended iftars are held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, and hundreds of Central New York residents attend these prayer sessions and community meals.
“Generally, we have [iftars] on the weekends and get about a couple hundred people or more,” said Hussaini.
While the iftars held over the weekend are more populated, there are still community prayer sessions and community iftars being held throughout the week. Anyone that wants to find out more about the community iftar schedule during Ramadan can visit the events page on the Islamic Society of Central New York’s website.