Ramadan in Nepal

- Milan Poudel, Kathmandu

Jun 28, 2016-Nepal has a small but vibrant Muslim community. According to 2011 census, there are just over one million Muslims in the country comprising 4.4 per cent of the total population of Nepal. But community leaders argue that the actual number is much higher and hovers around 3.5 million.

Like Muslims around the world Nepali believers are undertaking the month-long fasting in the month of Ramadan.

Salim Abdul Khan Gaus, Chairman of Nepal Muslim Association, sees Ramadan as a festive opportunity to ask Allah for forgiveness. “Just as a peepal leaf from a peepal tree falls, the sins are fallen and soul is cleansed if a man follows the rituals during Ramadan.”

A man offers prayers while breaking his Ramadan fast at Jame Masjid in Kathmandu on Monday.

During the month of Ramadan, Muhammad Yusuf from Baluwatar practices fasting for seventeen hours every day. He usually gets up around 3 am in the morning, offers prayers and takes pre-dawn light meal “suhoor” before fasting and get prepared for the day. He doesn’t work during Ramadan.

The Muslim holy month marked by daily fasting (no food and no water) from dawn to sunset, amplified religious observance and self-reflection. During Ramadan followers of Islam pray and refrain from bad habits –smoking, drinking including fighting — and try to renounce from impure thoughts. They try to indulge themselves in charitable works and take time to reflect upon spirituality, help the needy ones in community and build communal bonds.

The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur'an was sent down to the mankind – to offer guidance and explanation on how one should live his life. At the end of Ramadan, Muslims throughout the world practice a festive three-day celebration called Eid al-Fitr(the Festival of Fast-Breaking).

The younger generation seems to be equally devoted and appear happy to take part in religious and cultural activities of the community. Imran khan, 20 from Sirahawas on his 19th day of fasting.  He is a student living in Kathmandu with his brother. Imran believes that it’s their duty to carry on the culture to the next generation.

Gaus adds that the younger generation of Muslim community are enthusiastic about their culture and one can see massive participation of youth in Ramadan.

A kid alongside his father offers prayers during Ramadan at Jame Masjid in Kathmandu on Monday.

Abdu Rabb, 48 from Pakistan has been travelling to Nepal since three years to greet fellow Muslims. With the group of eight Maulanas, Rabb is here to share his knowledge on Islamic philosophy. Many people come to Nepal to raise funds for “madrasa”, an Islamic school and for other charitable works.

Abdu, Imran and Yusuf were waiting for “Iftaar”, the fast breaking meal. They had their meal at 7: 03 pm.

Published: 28-06-2016 15:39

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