People there are used to hearing adhan from the grand mosque. This mosque was built in 1904 by the Muslim Tartar donor Saleh Yarzeen. Adjacent to the mosque is the Islamic center of the Russian Muslims of the European side. In Ramadan, this compound becomes a huge attraction to Muslims all over the day.
In the Friday prayer prior to Ramadan, The head of Russia’s Muftis Council Sheikh Rawi’ein El-Deen in his khutba was all persuading Muslims to be merciful and stay away from conflicts. He said, “Muslims will fast Ramadan month, but abstaining from food and drink is only the surface of the true fasting”
He induced Russian Muslims to fully utilize the holy month asking for Allah’s forgiveness, and added, “The hungry around the world are estimated to be one billion people. You have to ponder this number, dear brothers. Many of us are able to help the poor, the sick and the needy.” He emphasized on the importance of keeping good relations with the people of other faiths.
The mosque was full of Muslims who came to listen closely to the khutba to prepare for Ramadan. They were a hodgepodge of races; Tartar, Chechen, Turkic, Dagestan, Tajik. There were also Uzbek, European, and even Arabs.
Ramadanic spirit everywhere
Mohamed Rasoul, a youth in his 30s says that he’s planning to pray Taraweeh during the month. This is because it gives him serenity and tranquility and gets him closer to Allah. He feels that it unifies the hearts [of the Muslims] being a congressional prayer. He added that he’s used to pray it 20 raka’at.
Fatima, a housewife, says that her son Khoga feels very happy when the family unites to take their suhoor, that it’s a meal when hearts meet happily, and practice the fasting ethics. She added that Ramadan gives a precious chance to visit relatives, ask about them, and remember who she may have forgotten. She also noted that every Ramadan, has to witness inviting friends and family on iftar, and praying with them taraweeh.
It’s common among Muslims in Russia, especially in Moscow, to invite non-Muslims openly to share iftar with them in the banquets prepared near the mosques. These banquets always include very attractive types of food, implying the Eastern Muslims’ generosity.
Every Ramadan, there has to be a Ramadan tent in Poklonnaya Gora, and all of Moscow residents are free to join it. It was inaugurated by the grand Mufti Rawi’ein El-Deen as well as other Moscow officials. It was opened by many religious activities by people from different religions.
A source in Muftis board said, “This Ramadan tent is a great chance to get to know the Islamic culture. The tent is opened till the end of Ramadan to whoever wants to join, regardless of their race or religion. After Maghreb, attendees can enjoy the delicious national food we serve as well as the unique cultural program.
The tent’s program this year includes cultural events representing 15 Russian republics, including Tatarstan and Dagestan. Besides, it includes parties to orphans, Quran memorizing contests, as well as other cultural and sports activities. The organizers expect the tent to guest more than 15 thousand people.
But this is not the only Ramadan tent in Russia, there are also other similar tents in Yekaterinburg in Siberia, in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan in the north Caucasus, and other cities.
Every day in Ramadan, mosques open their gate after iftar for Muslims to go eat, pray taraweeh, and socialize. Mosques finance these activities by Muslims’ donations. It’s a tradition that is found in different cities with Muslim residents.
Facilitating Islam practices
Sheikh Sufian Soleimanov, the Mufti of the district administration of the Muslims of Ulyanovsk district on the shore of the Folga River, 890 km away from Moscow, stated that iftar takes place in every village in the district.
He explained that the main mosque receives daily reports on how the iftar on different areas take place, hinting that this district has 108 mosques and houses of prayer, and the administration is in continuous contact with all of them. He also said that the number of Muslims prying taraweeh in Ulyanovsk mosque has increased recently, as well as in an Islamic school, which has prepared a special hall for iftar.
By the start of Ramadan, the halal food shops increase in most of Moscow’s neighborhoods. Many branches of these shops were opened by the Russian government’s directions. It’s surprising that these shops attract a large number non-Muslim buyers; due to the relatively low prices- compared to other shops- during Ramadan.
These manifestations make many people feel that Ramadan in Russia, especially in Moscow, a continuous month-long feast; a phenomenon which may not be found anywhere in a non-Muslim country.
Originally published in http://www.onislam.net