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Muslims ready to celebrate Ramadan after health restrictions lifted

TORONTO — Mohsin Patel has been working hard to prepare a program that will provide free meals to people in need during the month of Ramadan.

The mosque committee member at the Islamic Center of Mecca in Toronto’s east end expects the coming weeks to be fulfilling as Muslims come together to pray and eat together without any major restrictions related to COVID-19 for the first time in two years.

“We are delighted to celebrate Ramadan together in the mosque,” Mr Patel said. We are impatient. This month is really precious for us. »

Mosques across Canada are preparing to host prayers at full capacity during the holy month after provinces and territories lifted the vast majority of their COVID-19 related restrictions, including capacity limits.

Ramadan, which is set to begin on Saturday depending on the sighting of the new moon, will see Muslims around the world fast from dawn to dusk before breaking their fast with family and friends at a meal called iftar, at home or at their local mosque. Many will also join in voluntary evening prayers, called tarawihs, which take place only during the month of fasting.

“Ramadan is a time to recognize the many contributions that Muslim Canadians have made and continue to make to our country. Every day, they enrich Canada by practicing zakat to give back to those less fortunate, by volunteering for important causes and by performing many kind acts towards their communities and neighbors,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement. , where he wished “peace and happiness to all those who celebrate Ramadan”.

Shiraz Mohamed, administrator of the Madinah Masjid in Toronto, said his mosque is preparing to hold a typical Ramadan, where members are allowed to bring food to have iftar before praying and reading the Koran together.

“Everyone is looking forward to it because the year before we only had five people (allowed to pray in the mosque) and last year we only had 10,” he said.

“The last two years we still had the iftar program, but the food was prepared and put outside for people to pick up. But now we will have regular prayer and people can come and sit and eat,” he added.

Some people will still choose to wear masks, and free masks will be offered at the mosque, he said. The mosque also advises those who are sick to stay at home.

Ramadan is the most important month of the year for Muslims as it is an opportunity for people to seek salvation and uplift themselves spiritually, Mohamed said.

“That’s the purpose of the month: through fasting and prayer, people strengthen their faith and use the month as a way to rectify their lives,” he explained. This is the month to practice good and stay away from what is bad. »

Ramadan-related events will also take place in other venues, giving Muslims the opportunity to mark the month together.

Nisa Homes, a charity that supports women and children who are victims of domestic violence, poverty or homelessness or seek asylum, will hold charity iftars in several cities where individuals can offer donations, while coming together to break their fast.

At the Albanian Mosque in Toronto, staff cleaned the premises and prepared to hold daily prayers and meals.

Imam Adnan Berbatovci said he is looking forward to having tarawih prayers and communal meals at his mosque this year.

“Anyone (can) donate food, maybe from their family and sometimes from the store… very good iftars will be held in our mosque,” ​​he stressed.

“This Ramadan, we hope, will be more beautiful and much better than the last two Ramadans,” he concluded.

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