“Ramadan is a time and space to grow spiritually – individually, with your family and community. It’s a beautiful time to rebuild better habits; to be compassionate towards ourselves and others,” said Yaffa Ali, a UNCG post-baccalaureate.
“God gifted us the month of Ramadan, it is a blessed month. We fast from sunrise, or Fajr prayer, to sunset, or Maghreb prayer. It’s a month where people eat less and feed more, sleep less and pray more,” said Moneera Said, a third-year accountant student at UNCG.
Going to the local Greensboro mosque, The Islamic Center of the Triad, which is a place of worship located at 1203 Frances Daily Ct., I had a one-on-one conversation with the lead Imam, Badi Ali.
“You need about 21 days to establish a habit; in Arabia they say you need about 40 days,” Ali continues, “Ramadan is the school of the 30 days. People will go into the month and by the end have formed a habit to walk away with.”
The Islamic Center of the Triad has begun preparations for Ramadan. The mosques’ subcommittees, I.C.T Refugee Committee and Food Bank have prepared boxes to distribute to about 300 families, which includes 50 lbs of essential food and items related to Ramadan.
“A few items we incorporated are dates, rice, and sugar. We will distribute these boxes twice during Ramadan, once in the beginning and once in the middle of the month.”
The mosque has strived to maintain socializing and spirituality in a safe manner. I.C.T will continue to host the Taraweeh prayer, which is performed after the last obligated prayer and Qiyam ul Layl, the night prayer before the sun rises. Both will be at limited capacity this year and these prayers aren’t required, but merely recommended during the holy month.
A new event I.C.T has started is the creation of the Bazaar, where local mosque members can sell their handmade crafts, clothing, and scarves to community and non-community members. It is a way for people to show off their talents and share them with others.
“We will also be hosting multiple fundraisers during Ramadan to help raise money for another mosque we want to build, and to expand our current location,” Ali continued, “We plan to create a private Islamic school and youth center for our community and the community at large.”
One of I.C.T’s largest traditions are the Iftar dinners, which is when one breaks their fast.
“We will be distributing 800 meals every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to families in the form of a drive-thru due to COVID-19. Since we cannot all eat as a community as we do every year, at least people can enjoy and spend Iftar with their families,”
One restaurant that is donating meals is Nazareth Bread Company and Restaurant, managed and owned by Maher Said and his two brothers. Said has been donating food to I.C.T for over a decade now.
“Some people donate in the form of money, but I donated in the form of food. I mean, everyone needs to eat, who doesn’t love to eat?” Said shared in an interview.
“I have known Badi since my children were born, and our mosque is a second home to me and my family. I’d do anything I could to give back to them and those in need or who are alone during such a special month.” Said continued, “It humbles you and increases your spirituality, humanity, and sensitivity.”
Nazareth Bread Company hosts a Ramadan buffet every year at the restaurant for the thirty days, where they put out traditional cultural dishes that aren’t on the menu.
Maher’s brother, Firas Said, said. “We change the buffet items every night, some days we have Mansaf, an Arab dish that consists of cooked lamb with a yogurt sauce over rice with pine nuts, or Maqluba, a middle eastern dish that consists of fried vegetables, meat or chicken, and rice that are placed in a pot and flipped upside down when served. Maqluba literally means upside down,”
“The buffet begins in the evenings, varying from appetizers, entrees, dessert, and fruit. It is open to anyone and everyone. We form our own community by bringing people, who mostly don’t know each other, together to eat and interact. It’s so beautiful to watch, and reminds me why I put in the energy every year,” Maher said with a big grin.
Badi said, “I’m so proud of this community. Having such giving people around me is by itself sufficient.”