Tobago Muslims observe Ramadan

Muslims prayer before they break fast at the Masjid Al Tawbah in Lowlands.
Muslims prayer before they break fast at the Masjid Al Tawbah in Lowlands.

Kinnesha George-Harry

Muslims around the world are currently fasting and praying as they observe the Holy Month of Ramadan. In Tobago, Muslims are flocking to the Masjid Al Tawbah in Lowlands daily to pray and break their fast.

For Director of the Tobago Muslim Organisation Kameel Ali, Ra­madan is a very sig­nif­i­cant month in the Mus­lim cal­en­dar.

He told Newsday much more Muslims have been coming to the mosque "because of the blessings in the month of Ramadan."

Tobago Muslim Organisation director Kameel Ali, second from right, with other Muslims at the Masjid Al Tawbah in Lowlands on Monday.

He said: “Ramadan is one of the months on the Islamic calendar; we have 12 months and Ramadan is one of the months that fasting was prescribed. Fasting was ordained in the month of Ramadan and it's also the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed,” he said, noting that there are five pil­lars of Is­lam which Mus­lims fol­low. He said during Ramadan Muslims hold firmly to these pillars.

“This year Ra­madan be­gan on May 6, about ten days ear­li­er than when we start­ed last year. We de­ter­mine the months by the moon in­stead of the sun. The Is­lam­ic cal­en­dar is ac­tu­al­ly about ten days less than the Gre­go­ri­an cal­en­dar.”

To prepare for their daily fast, Mulsims wake early for a pre-dawn meal called suhoor.

Ali said Ramadan comes from the word Ramdha, which means to burn. Ramadan is a month of re­mov­ing sins from a per­son and get­ting clos­er to Al­lah.

Mus­lims must stay away from evil and things that might be il­le­gal or il­lic­it. He said dur­ing this pe­ri­od of fast­ing, food and drink are just two of the things that Mus­lims ab­stain from at dawn un­til sun­set.

“They also abstain from any marital relations during that time… total abstinence from the break of dawn to sunset. Normally, we go to mosque every afternoon and we break our fast with our brothers and sisters, we break our fast and then after that we say prayers, then we have dinner. It really is a time we get together at the mosque to break our fast. The fast is usually between 29 and 30 days."

Muslims break fast at Masjid Al Tawbah in Lowlands on Monday evening.

Mus­lims usu­al­ly break the fast with a small meal, if­tar.

Ali said prayer is an important part of fasting and is usually done five times per day during Ramadan.

"We have additional prayers in the night when we go to mosque, which we call the Taraweeh prayers; it’s like additional prayers we do during the month of Ramadan, and that prayer is done only in the month of Ramadan.”

Taraweeh prayers are observed after the evening meal, either at home or in congregations at mosques.

Ali said un­like the Chris­t­ian Lenten fast where cer­tain types of food are not eat­en, not even wa­ter is con­sumed dur­ing the Mus­lim fast. The fasting, he said, acts as a reset for the mind, body and soul, as Ramadan is seen also as a month of gratitude, as by abstaining from food and water during the day, the faithful are reminded of those less fortunate.

Muslims mark the end of Ramadan with a celebration and feasting known as Eid-ul-Fitr, the festival of breaking the fast. The pub­lic hol­i­day for Eid-ul-Fitr has been de­clared on June 5.


"Tobago Muslims observe Ramadan"

More in this section