Fasting a Heatwave

by Jeff Coltin
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Faithful wait in Musa Mosque's courtyard

Jeff Coltin, WFUV

NYC muslims mark a hot, sunny Ramadan.

 
For the 30 days of Ramadan, devout Muslims observe a strict fast from sunrise to sunset. That means no food and no water during the hottest part of the day.
 
"You know you're working 10 hours a day," said Sonny, a member of Musa Mosque in the Bronx. "Picture yourself, you're doing physical work for 10 hours without water, so it makes it a little difficult."
 
Sonny and more than 100 other worshippers gather at the Musa Mosque every night in the month of Ramadan. There, immediately after sundown they break their fast with water and dates. Then, communal prayers before a large meal provided by one of the members.  
 
Islam's holy month of Ramadan moves around the calendar, this year falling from July 8 to August 7. While the rituals are the same every year, summer's long daylight hours mean the evening meal is the first time in 15 hours they can quench their thirst. Not to mention New York City's week of mid 90's high temperatures.
 
According to Musa Mosque's Imam, or Leader, Nedzad, Ramadan falling in the summer is a special situation - bringing to mind a certain prophecy in the Quran. "Today you know, long and hot," he said. "Because the Day of Resurrection and the Day of Judgement, that day will be very long, and it will be very hot."
 
Going through this heatwave without water sounds tough, but Imam Nedzad does not let his faith wane. 
 
"God didn't put anything outside of man's ability," he said.
 
[PHOTO: Adni Umerovski at Musa Mosque in the Bronx.]

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