Central Pa. Muslims celebrate Ramadan

Emily Yinger
York Dispatch
  • Ramadan, the holy month of the Islamic faith, began June 6 and will last for 30 days
  • Local mosques and Islamic centers in York and the surrounding area will be open to to the public

During June you might hear the phrase "Ramadan Kareem," meaning generous Ramadan, frequently exchanged between Muslims.

Ramadan, a celebrated tradition of the Islamic faith, began Monday, June 6. The religious event takes place every year during the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and lasts for 30 days. Muslims who observe it refrain from sexual relations, eating food and drinking water from dawn until sunset for the 30-day period.

People break their first fast during the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Muslims across the world are observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan, where they refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

The holiday is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and serves as a time for Muslims to reflect on their sins and focus on ways to improve their spirituality and self-discipline.

A primary aspect of the religious celebration is developing a further sense of community and giving back to those who are in need. Muslims achieve this through iftars, the holy meal eaten after sunset during Ramadan, and Zakat, an obligatory form of charity. Local mosques and Islamic centers in York County and the surrounding area will partake in these common Islamic traditions associated with Ramadan.

“I try not to commit any sin or do anything wrong during Ramadan. I do as much good as I can to help my community and those who are close to me,” said Mutas Salim, of the Hadee Mosque Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Harrisburg.

The mosque will celebrate the holy month by opening its doors to the public and allowing outsiders to gain a better understanding of the Islamic faith. A major component of Ramadan involves enlightening the public about the religion by providing information to those who seek said knowledge.