8 April 2022

Muslims tune in to Ramadan – time to fast, self-reflect and perhaps listen to the radio

| Laura Liu
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Diana Abdel-Rahmen

Australian Muslim Voice president Diana Abdel-Rahmen also runs a radio broadcast – Radio Ramadan. Photo: Supplied.

ACT Muslims have begun the month-long dawn-to-dusk fast that is Ramadan, a time of self-reflection.

“Ramadan is a time to reconnect with faith,” says Diana Abdel-Rahmen OAM, president of Australian Muslim Voice.

“This is an opportunity to reconnect and refresh, a chance to remember those less fortunate than ourselves.

“We’re lucky here in Australia. But there are people overseas who don’t have enough food, who are living in some really terrible situations. So it reminds us we’re all together in humanity, and we look after each other.

“The time is also about the reflection … it’s really reconnecting with the spiritual and making sure you are connected to the basic principles of humanity.”

READ ALSO Molonglo Muslim community renews calls for a mosque

Muslims refrain from eating during daylight hours through Ramadan, which started on 2 April and runs until 1 May. It’s intended to teach followers to stay patient, be humble, and reflect on themselves and their actions.

During the holy month, Diana runs a highly-anticipated broadcast, Radio Ramadan.

For more than 20 years, Radio Ramadan has broadcast on 99.5FM and streamed online at Australian Muslin Voice. Set up in her home, Diana brings together talks, presentations and interviews covering theology, history and community topics of interest plus music from around the world.

Ramadan follows the cycle of the moon. This means it starts 11 days earlier each year and takes 33 years to complete a full-year cycle.

“People gather in mosques and centres to perform extra prayers every day,” Diana says.

“This year will be more about getting together. Ramadan is a time when people are cooking and getting together and making food – so it’s a chance to catch up with your friends and families.”

Two Islamic ladies cooking

Members of the Canberra Islamic Centre organise meals as the end of Ramadan 2021 approaches. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

One of the largest transfers of money around the world also happens during Ramadan, when the faithful donate to those in need. Children, the elderly, the sick, and pregnant or menstruating women are exempt from fasting. Instead, they can join in by also donating to charity.

Diana says people usually donate a set amount relative to their living costs, or a percentage of their savings.

“This can be paid directly to the poor or through aid agencies or organisations helping the poor.”

READ ALSO Gift of food gives life to Islamic community during Ramadan

Marking the end of fasting, Ramadan is followed by the Eid al-Fitr Festival. One of the largest events on the Muslim calendar, communities mark the festival by praying in mosques and centres during the morning then celebrate by visiting family and friends for days – and eating more food.

Everyone is invited to join the Canberra Muslim community to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr Festival on Sunday, 8 May.

“Like any festival, the Eid is geared around children with amusement rides, pony rides plus lots of multicultural food stalls, henna hand painting, face painting and entertainment,” Diana says.

“The festival is open to everyone, so we’d love people to come along, bring their children and enjoy the day with us.”

The 2022 Canberra Eid al-Fitr Festival at Canberra Islamic Centre in Monash runs from 10 am on Sunday, 8 May. No tickets required. Free parking is available onsite at the mosque.

For more information visit the Australian Muslim Voice.

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