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Ramadan to commence this weekend: Month-long religious observance involves fasting, prayer
June 28, 2014, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
The Yaseen Foundation in Belmont held prayer services at the Belmont Sports Complex Friday afternoon.

Gomaa Abdel-Sadek

This weekend marks the beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim religious holiday, and Belmont’s Yaseen Foundation is organizing activities around the holy month.

In Belmont, volunteer Imam Gomaa G. Abdel-Sadek is helping lead prayers during the annual spiritual observance, which is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

“Ramadan is a very special month for our community,” he said. “We look forward to this month all year because it is the month in which we should develop our family and communal ties, increase our good deeds and improve our spiritual state.”

Abdel-Sadek, 53, has a Ph.D. and is a polymer and material scientist at PowerVision by day in Belmont. When he joined the community of Belmont in December 2010, the Imam had just left for England so he began to fill the position voluntarily. He hails from Cairo, Egypt, and has seven children with his wife, who he commutes to visit in San Diego every weekend since his children are finishing school in Southern California. He says he enjoys Belmont and the community here.

“We have a very good relationship here as a community and with other communities,” said Abdel-Sadek. “Other religious leaders get together and discuss the large community issues.”

During the month of Ramadan, Yaseen conducts open houses and invites non-Muslims to explain things and answer questions.

“We are in good communication with many organizations and we are part of Peninsula Clergy Network,” he said. “Therefore, there are many ways to send a message through.”

Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan typically includes the increased offering of salat (prayers) and recitation of the Quran. Special prayers are offered every night from 10:15 p.m.-11 p.m. In addition, Muslims strive to increase efforts to communicate with needy people to help them, he said.

“Ramadan is actually a spiritual month where everyone does his daily activities as usual,” he said. “It should not adversely affect the daily activities and productivity of people. Special activities in Ramadan include daily Iftars, which is a small meal when we break our fast, are served in the Masjid (mosque).”

The fasting, which lasts from dawn to sunset, can be difficult. There are some exceptions for those who are sick or pregnant. Fasting, for others though, is still an important part of the month.

“It’s obedient of God,” he said. “God prescribed this, so you are obeying. It’s also to feel how the needy and poor are suffering from the lack of food and life expenses.”

In addition, it can enhance and improve one’s attitude, he said.

“It leads a person to control himself and to be honest because you know God is watching,” he said. “When you live with this attitude you will be honest in everything.”

The fasting is also considered a good social event that brings people together, he said. Healthwise, when one has a month of fasting, he or she can clean his or her body and stomach, he added.

Yaseem is holding a Quran memorization contest on July 26 and winners will be announced on July 28. You can sign up to volunteer to help with Ramadan activities on Yaseen’s website. Ramadan begins Saturday, June 28 and ends Monday, July 28. For more information on Yaseen events and volunteer work visit yaseen.org.

angela@smdailyjournal.com

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105

 

 

Tags: ramadan, month, activities, fasting, community, belmont,


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