On Fridays and Saturdays during Ramadan, followers of the Muslim faith from Richmond and surrounding counties meet in Hamlet to feast.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Arabic calendar, and is a time about fasting. Muslims fast from sun up until sun-down for 28 days on a lunar calendar; meaning each year, Ramadan starts on a different day. This year, Ramadan began on Aug. 11.
Anir Darwish, president of the Hamlet Muslim community, said fasting is not so difficult if you have a solid meal before sunrise. He said once the sun goes down, friends and family gather to take part in the Iftar, a feast that breaks the fast.
“It’s all about piety - to be close to God, and to fear God,” said Darwish. He said the fasting humbles humankind, both the rich and poor. Everyone feels together what it means to be hungry.
Darwish explained that the fast is not just about food. Drinking is forbidden. One refrains from using foul language and gossiping, from allowing the eyes to wander and from temptations of the flesh - even if you’re married.
Fasting has spiritual sanctity, and has been observed as habits and traditions by all prophets, and that Ramadan allows Muslims to follow in their prophet’s footsteps, according to Darwish.
The Muslim community in Hamlet is nearly 45 families strong, all from different counties, and different parts of the world; India, Pakistan, Asia, Middle East and even Americans, said Darwish.
Darwish himself stems from Iraq. He said people from between Raleigh and Charlotte attend the community’s meetings.
Dawn Kurry can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 997-3111 ext. 15.