The month of Ramadan is the time when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. It is also a time of generosity as people are invited to donate to charity.

Masjid An-Noor is inviting all members of the St. Catharines community to get a taste of Ramadan by fasting this month.

The month of Ramadan is the time when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. It is also a time of generosity as people are invited to donate to charity.

The month of Ramadan runs from June 6 to July 6 this year.

The mosque is hosting events that include Taste of Ramadan, where participants can break fast with the community, and Eid Buzz, where children can receive free haircuts.

“It’s a very good time of spirituality and trying to be close to God,” said former Masjid An-Noor imam Moustaffa Khattab.

“Fasting is also a way of showing gratitude to God for all of the good things he has given us.”

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and allows for Muslims to feel the hunger that the poor face. It is a solemn month that’s dedicated to the revealing of the Qur’an for the first time, but also one of celebration. Every evening people invite others to break fast with them, and each Saturday there is a large meal at the mosque.

“Outside Ramadan it’s a time when people are busy, so this is a good time to get together,” said Khattab, who is now the imam at Mississauga’s Anatolia Islamic Centre. “It is also a time for getting together for prayer and charity.”

“We call it ‘Iftar’, breaking the fast,” said Masjid An-Noor president Ezeldin Ebadalla.

“It’s one of the beauties of Ramadan. We all share food. Whatever I have, whatever you have, we put them all together.”

At the Taste of Ramadan there will be a presentation about Ramadan and a breaking of the fast with other community members at the Geneva Street mosque. Community members are invited to fast that day, which will take place in the third week of the month.

Naima Shire is the secretary of Masjid An-Noor board, which helps to plan the events that take place at the mosque.

“They get a taste of what Ramadan is and what we go through when we’re fasting during the day,” said Shire, who said a date has not yet been set for the event.

Muslims who can’t fast either due to a chronic illness or pregnancy, for example, are invited to donate a meal to the hungry for each day they miss. Ramadan is considered the most sacred month in the Muslim calendar and charity is an important part of the holiday.

Ramadan culminates with a three day feast at the end of the month called Eid Al-Fitr, or Eid for short. According to Ebadalla, the mosque is planning on celebrating the holiday with an event at a local park.

“Just so that they feel the celebration and enjoy the spirit of Eid,” he said.

Shire says every year, she can’t wait for Ramadan to begin.

“People always wonder, ‘why would you look forward to starving yourself the whole day?’

That’s not all Ramadan is.

“It’s a time for the community to come together. It’s time for you to be the best that you can be.

“All the bad habits you used to have, Ramadan is the time to break those bad habits and be a better person.

“You’re not focused on not eating, you’re focused on, what you can do to better yourself.”