The Sunday Mail
The month of Ramadan unifies people of Islamic faith inspite of their geographical locations.
Ramadhan, which begun last Sunday after the sighting of the moon, is regarded as the Holy Month as Muslims separate themselves for fasting, which is one of the five pillars of the faith.
The faithful dedicate themselves to prayer and not eating for the entire month of May, starting from dawn to dusk as a way of strengthening the “spiritual man”.
In order to foster a spirit of worship, founders of the Islamic institution — Fatima Zahra College — Sheikh Abdullah and his wife Hajar Makwinja are overseeing a workshop running parallel with the fasting programme.
Sheikh Makwinja said the annual workshop, which also has participants from Botswana and Malawi, will run for 21 days during which they will be taught the objectives of Ramadhan and the laws that govern their conduct during fasting, among other subjects.
“Ramadhan is meant to build the morale system of Muslims since we are interacting with people not only in our families or communities but all over. Ramadhan is a blessed month in which God has closed the gates of evil. As such, one of the major aims of the course is to have Muslims understand the practical laws of Islam concerning fasting, that is, how to fast, how to pray and when to break, among other matters of conduct in this period,” Sheikh Makwinja said.
As Ramadhan is a special season for Muslims, everyday of breaking the fast calls for a special dish. While it is not mandatory, various groups of people prepare favourite dishes that identify with their taste.
Sheikh Makwinja said from their Yao culture, they prepare a dish known as Futari which consists of peeled, boiled sweet potatoes served with peanut butter and rice porridge. However, the ultimate celebrations come at the end of the fasting month when Muslims mark Eid al-Fitr and lots of food is served.
Even though Muslims are encouraged to give as a lifestyle, works of charity are at their highest during the month of Ramadhan, according to Mrs Makwinja. She highlighted that fasting is purification of the body and soul which puts a Muslim in the position of the less priviledged who might be lacking food.
“Because you know how it feels, then you have to give. Even when you have not fasted, you are then encouraged to give food enough to sustain a whole family.
“Each passing month of Ramadhan is an opportunity for a believer to be a better person. This act should be a lifestyle,” she highlighted.