Local Muslims celebrate month of fasting
Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005
The SELMA TIMES-JOURNAL
Every 33 years, Ramadan – the Islam month of fasting – falls in line with the Jewish New Year. This is one of those years.
The Muslim community in Selma has six to 10 families that form a core group, said Michael Hameen, associate Iman of the Selma Islamic Center, located on Citizens Parkway.
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Hameen moved to Selma two years ago from Birmingham.
“I became a Muslim in 1969 after searching out a number of disciplines,” he said. “I found the Islamic way of life very attractive.”
Hameen said that, at the time, Islam in the United States focused on improving the community of the African-American. “To take more responsibility for our life.”
Ramadan allows Muslims to work on bettering themselves. The first day of fasting
was Oct. 5 this year.
During the 30 days of Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight hours, from dawn to sunset.
“At sunset, we break our fast,” Hameen said. “But the most important part is to exercise self-discipline, show compassion and improvement.”
Hameen said the month is about forgiving one another, doing deeds of charity and helping the poor.
“In fact, the very act of fasting makes us more sensitive to those who don’t eat every day,” he said.
During the first 10 days of Ramadan, worshippers are called upon to seek God’s mercy.
During the next 10 days, they seek forgiveness of sins.
The final 10 days of fasting are to seek protection from the fires of sin, Hameen said.
As part of Ramadan, the Islamic community in Selma invites people from the outer communities to break fast with them on Saturdays after sundown.
They also hold a Sunday afternoon interfaith meeting at 5 p.m.
“We invite those who are not Muslim to come and share scripture,” Hameen said. Most of us were raised with the Bible. And the Koran speaks to the Old and New Testament.”
Hameen said Jesus is very important in the Muslim faith, as is Mary.
“The Virgin birth is also important,” he said.
Hameen wants residents to know that the Islamic Center wants to connect with the community, and have an interfaith outreach, reconnecting with churches.
“We are business people serving the Selma community,” he said. “We have teachers, educators, nurses, lawyers. We are your neighbors.
are many similarities. There are minimal differences,” he said. “When you look into the core beliefs and the core humanity. We are just trying to improve our lives in Selma and Dallas County.”
State Rep. Yusuf Abdus-Salaam serves as Iman of the Selma Islamic Center.