Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI) Regina is sharing the message of Ramadan with Reginans through food. Members of the non-profit organization have set up a Ramadan tent in City Square Plaza
, where they will be serving free dinners from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily until July 24.
Ayhan Ozturk, IDI chair, said about 100 people have been dinning at the tent daily since it was set up on Friday.
“On the first day, we invited all the kids who were playing in the park and (on Sunday) we had some homeless people dining with us too,” said Ozturk, who added that Ramadan is a month of sharing, and everyone is welcome to the free dinner.
The month of Ramadan started on July 10 and will end around August 10.
“The Islamic calendar is determined by moon sighting — it can be 29 days, it can be 30 days,” said Sadaf Kawahaja, a teacher of the Quaran.
According to Ozturk, the Ramadan tent has its origin in Turkish tradition, where tents are erected for people to meet with family and friends after sunset to break their fast.
“We are doing it here in Regina so that everybody can come and mingle with us,” said Ozturk.
“You don’t have to be fasting or a Muslim — just come and share a meal with us.”
For Kahawaja, Ramadan also symbolizes peace and knowledge.
She uses this month to share Islamic teachings with other women in her community.
According to Kahawaja, it is during the month of Ramadan that the Islamic holy book, the Quran, was revealed to the prophet Muhammad.
“So we read the Quaran at night and in the daytime too,” said Kahawaja.
She explained that while Muslims read the Quran throughout the year, it is imperative that they read the holy book from cover to cover during Ramadan.
“We study it and we try to understand it,” Kahawaja said.
Muslims usually pray five times a day but during Ramadan, a special prayer, Taraweeh, is added.
“The rewards of this prayer are great,” said Kahawaja, explaining that while the general reward to everyone who fasts during Ramadan is an afterlife in jannah or heaven, an additional reward awaits those who perform the Taraweeh.
“It’s like a surprise. Allah has not revealed to us what it is,” she said.
According to Kahawaja, those who take Ramadan seriously enough do not allow even a drop of water to touch their throats from dawn to sunset.
Concerns about bad breath are addressed in the Quran.
“And the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better in Allah’s sight than the smell of musk,” said Kahawaja, quoting a verse from the Quran.