Ramadan in MICRONESIA??? Yes Yes there are MUSLIMS in Micronesia!!!
Marshallese Muslims observing prayers during Ramadan. Photo: Imam Matiullah Joyia.
the 150 members of the Marshall Islands' Muslim community, this lunar
month is the most holy of the year - the month of Ramadan.
Ramadan commemorates the Prophet Mohammad receiving Islam's holy book, the Koran, from Allah, Islam's name for God.
dates for Ramadan follow the lunar calendar and therefore change every
year. In 2014, Marshallese Muslims fast between June 30 and July 28.
this month, followers of Islam abstain from food and drink, including
water, during daylight hours. This is approximately 5am to 7pm for
Those fasting for Ramadan eat a meal, called sehri,
before the sun rises and will not eat or drink again until the sun
sets. After the sun has set, they break their fast with a meal called iftar.
But it's not only food that believers abstain from.
the day, apart from restraining from food and water, Muslims are
particularly exhorted from vain talk, quarrels and fights, or from any
such occupation as is below the dignity of a true believer," explains
Matiullah Joyia, the leader, called an imam, at Majuro's mosque.
The philosophy behind abstaining is to develop spiritually, emotionally and personally.
other things, he [the person fasting] learns through personal
experience about what hunger, poverty, loneliness and discomforts mean
to the less fortunate sections of society," says Imam Joyia.
Members of the Marshall Islands' Muslim community pray during Ramadan. Photo: Imam Matiullah Joyia.
Marshall Islands' Muslim community is from the Ahmadiyya movement,
which began in 1889 and believes that Allah sent the Messiah in the form
of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to end religious wars and to restore peace.
the 1990s Fijian missionaries brought the Ahmadiyya movement to the
Marshall Islands and in 2001 it became an officially recognised religion
in the country. The community's first mosque was opened in 2012.
a minority religion in the Pacific, Imam Joyia says that when the
mosque was built, the locals were frightened at first but the situation
is getting better every day.
"The locals are realising there are Muslims who preach and practice Islam to be a peaceful and tolerant religion," he says.
the local Marshallese observing Ramadan in a tropical climate, Imam
Joyia says the key is to drink a lot of water in the morning before your
fast so you don't get dehydrated during the day.
"And also eat as much as possible. Not meaning to stuff yourself fully, instead to eat an adequate amount," he says.
this morning meal followers will pray "I intend to keep the fast for
tomorrow in the month of Ramadan" and in the evening, when they break
their fast, they say "O Allah! I fasted for You and I believe in You and
I put my trust in You and I break my fast with Your sustenance."
At the beginning of Ramadan, Muslims greet each other by saying Ramadan Mubarak.
"Ramadan Mubarak means Congratulations it's Ramadan. Basically, we say congrats because we are excited for this time and all the blessings it brings," says Imam Joyia.
Members of the Marshall Islands Muslim community. Photo: Imam Matiullah Joyia.