Indian Muslim Community During Holy Ramadan
"O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who were before you, that you many learn piety and righteousness," states the Holy Quran.
With this foremost in their mind, close to 50,000 members of the Muslim community who reside in and around the city of Chandigarh, India, have been praying and fasting with fervor during the month of Ramadan.
Though not a drop of water or a morsel of food must touch their lips from 'Sehri' (morning meal) to Iftar (meal at sunset to break the fast), the devout say they do not let that come in the way.
For the community, it is also a time to bond and encourage fellowship by having their meal together.
"There are some 50,000 Muslims in Tricity. Many of them gather in mosques to offer prayers during Ramadan," said vice-chairman of Jama Masjid, Sector 20, Abdul Rehman.
For Halima, it is a period of rejuvenation. "Last year, I was unable to visit Mecca. But the Quran mentions that these fasts are equivalent to the blessings gained from a pilgrimage," she said.
The fast is broken with dates or salted ginger. "Many also crave spicy food," said Sardar Khan, an executive chef with a local restaurant.
"Being the month in which the first verses of Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad [PBUH], it is a period of worship and contemplation.
It is a time of restraint as we're not allowed to eat or drink during the daylight hours. In the evening, it's customary to visit family and friends following Iftar.
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