Muslims prepare to celebrate holy month

Published on Friday, 5 July 2013 23:58 - Written by BY REBECCA HOEFFNER rhoeffner@tylerpaper.com

According to Islamic tradition, charity is emphasized every year during Ramadan, said Anwar Khalifa, president of the board at the East Texas Islamic Society.

Ramadan begins Tuesday. It is the holiest month of the year for Muslims, who recognize the importance by fasting from food, intercourse and fighting from sunup to sundown during the month. Ramadan recognizes the time that Muslims believe that Muhammad received his initial revelations from God.

“This year, a lot of our charity will focus on Syria because of everything that’s going on there,” Khalifa said.

Other Islamic relief organizations the Muslims who attend the mosque in Tyler support focus on orphans or education.

At the end of each day during Ramadan, Muslims break their fasts with a meal called an Iftar. Many members of the mosque invite friends, Muslim and non-Muslim, over to share their food, Khalifa said.

Giving is one of the five pillars of Islam. While giving to others is commanded in the Koran, the percentage of a Muslim’s savings that must be given, 2.5 percent each year, doesn’t necessarily have to be given during Ramadan. However, that is when most Muslims choose to give, said Irfan Sattar, member of the East Texas Islamic Society.

“The Lord will give you manifold what you are giving, in the hereafter,” he said. “It’s a month of blessings.”