Muslims in southwest Oklahoma fast for Ramadan

Muslims in southwest Oklahoma fast for Ramadan

LAWTON, Okla._Muslims everywhere are fasting for Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.  From dusk until dawn,  those who participate go without food and drinks, but it's all done for a purpose.

One spiritual leader in Lawton said Ramadan is his favorite time of year, because it's all about remembering to be compassionate, spiritually connected and giving back to those who need help.  

Imam Hassan Ahmed is from Somalia, and he has been a Muslim since he was born. 
"We have been doing this since childhood. I remember starting at the age of 13 years old," said Ahmed.

He hasn't missed Ramadan since he started at such a young age. Although fasting can be tough, he says there are lessons to be learned through doing it.  
"We also remember people that are less fortunate, who don't every anything to eat every single day and that's to have that practical experience yourself," said Ahmed.

With temperatures soaring to the high 90's, going without food or water can be tough. Ahmed says that the Koran provides strength.

"If a person, a believing woman or man believe in God, and God says do something, they have no choice, they do it. Since you have faith, everything else will be easy," said Ahmed.

Muslims pray five times a day, towards Mecca in Saudi Arabia. During Ramadan they recite extra prayers at night to attain an even higher spiritual level. On top of those prayers, during Ramadan, Hassan says he and other Muslims focus more on giving back to others. 

"Sometimes people knock at the door, who are not even Muslims, but they come here and ask help. For example they don't have gas, or don't have anything to eat. We always happily provide for them," said Ahmed.

Each day, when they break their fast, which is around eight thirty at night, they eat dates, with water then gradually move on to heartier foods. They do it that way so the stomach doesn't get upset. 

When Ramadan ends, on July 28th, there is a holiday called Eid al-Fitr, where Muslims feast and celebrate together.