Muslims finding different ways to celebrate Ramadan this year

Peninsula Islamic Community Center.jpg
Posted at 2:17 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 17:59:13-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Last week, 1.8 billion Muslims around the world - including here in Hampton Roads - marked the beginning of Ramadan, Islam's holiest month.

"Ramadan is one of the five pillars. It is an obligatory deed, but something we look forward to every year," said Amy Tschai of Virginia Beach.

Today, her local mosque sits deserted due to the coronavirus.

"If anyone has seen the way we pray and worship, foot to shoulder, it's a part of our congregation and something we are missing this year," Tschai explained.

This year, Muslims must practice many of their religious rituals at home.

"Not being able to see everyone - it is really hard," she said.

Naved Jarif, President of the Peninsula Islamic Community Center, says nightly prayer services and Friday sermons have moved online.

"The mosque is the hub the center of the community, and people really miss it. We would normally have 100 to 200 people there a night," said Jarif.

While fasting from dawn to dusk continues for 30 days, breaking the fast and sharing a meal with friends at mosques is not an option.

Related: Passover celebrations, Seder dinners go virtual this year

"I love getting together and sharing food," said Tschai. "It's important for our Muslim community to strengthen the ties of brotherhood and sisterhood."

While the communal aspects have ceased for now, those of Muslim faith say their spiritual connections are actually stronger than ever.

"We are taking this time to cleanse our body and mind, and we really actually have time to work on relationships with family and children," said Jarif.

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