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Published on 22 March 2023

Ramadan begins for the Muslim community

Onkaparinga’s Muslim community will celebrate the month of Ramadan from this week.

“Ramadan is the most special month in Islam’s lunar calendar,” says Kamran Tahir, imam at the Masjid Noor mosque in Morphett Vale.

“It is when Muslims place extra focus on getting closer to God and on service to humanity, in particular those most in need.

“Healthy adult Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset. Fasting helps us concentrate on both spirituality and charity.”

During Ramadan, Muslims wake up early to eat a pre-dawn meal called suhoor and break their fast after sunset with a meal called iftar.

The Eid al-Fitr (Festival of Sweets) celebration marks the end of the month when Muslims celebrate a successful Ramadan of fasting and worship. This year the three-day celebration will run from 21 to 23 April.

The Morphett Vale mosque, along with its counterpart Mahmood mosque in Beverley, is part of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia.

“Our local community includes people born in Australia as well as those who are immigrants or refugees. Members come from many places – here, Fiji, the UK, South Asia and more,” says Imam Tahir.

“The local Ahmadiyya community is as diverse as the Australian community itself.”

Ahmaddiya is a branch of Islam that originated in South Asia as a reformist movement in the late nineteenth century.

Its members share most core tenets with the broader Muslim community but believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, born in present-day India in 1835, is a prophet and the promised messiah (Allah’s chosen one). Most other Islamic groups believe Muhammad was the last prophet.

Imam Tahir says the Ahmadiyya community is a spiritual movement, not a political one.

“Our first emphasis is on spirituality – love of God – and the peaceful teachings of Islam. We also focus on serving humanity,” he says.

“For us the most basic tenet is ‘Love for all, hatred for none’.”

The Ahmadiyya community runs Humanity First, a humanitarian organisation. The local branch works across Adelaide to feed the homeless, provide Christmas hampers for those who cannot afford them, support disadvantaged communities, and raise money for organisations such as the Red Cross.

Humanity First offers regular free meals at the Christie Downs Community House. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association also holds South Asian cooking classes for women at the venue.

Imam Tahir says an important part of Ramadan is breaking the evening fast with others, including those from other creeds and faiths.

Members of the Morphett Vale mosque will host iftar meals for the broader community at the Christie Downs Community House on Thursday 6 April and on Sunday 16 April at the mosque. An interfaith dialogue on ‘Fasting in my religion’ will precede the iftar at the mosque.

“We warmly invite everyone,” says Imam Tamir. “The meal is open to all.”

In the 2021 census, 1,156 people in the Onkaparinga region identified as Muslim.

Picture: Imam Kamran Tahir of the Masjid Noor mosque in Morphett Vale

(Image by MTA International Australia Studios)