Islamic Center of Victoria continues observance of Ramadan | Multimedia

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Hussam Yousef prays after sunset Monday evening at the Islamic Center of Victoria. (Photos by Chase Cofield/Victoria Advocate)

Chase Cofield

The holiest month of year for the Muslim community is still ongoing with the observance of Ramadan.

Hussam Yousef, Imam Osama Hassan, Shameem, and Dr. Shahid Hashmi gather to break their fast after sunset during Ramadan on Monday at the Islamic Center of Victoria.

Chase Cofield

On the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims begin fasting from sunrise to sunset. During the day, they abstain from food and water completely. Before sunrise and after sunset, they break their fast with a meal. During this time, Muslims must practice self-control and show kindness and patience toward others.

Hussam Yousef, Imam Osama Hassan, Shameem, and Dr. Shahid Hashmi break their fast evening on Monday at the Islamic Center of Victoria.

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam that Muslims must follow alongside profession of faith, prayer five times a day, charity, and a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca once in their lifetime.

Dr. Shahid Hashmi prepares to pray Monday at the Islamic Center of Victoria. Hashmi co-founded the Islamic center in 1991.

“It is a way to raise the awareness of God around us and be mindful of God and feel what other people will go through if they have no food to eat.” Imam Osama Hassan said.

Hassan been leading prayers at the mosque for over 20 years.

Osama Hassan, the imam of the Islamic Center of Victoria, leads prayer Monday during Ramadan in Victoria.

Ramadan is a opportune time, Hassan said, for people to become productive without the need to take breaks for food and water.

“You don’t think about the food, you don’t think about the coffee, you just you get used to it,” Hassan said.

It’s also a time to be charitable toward those less fortunate in the community.

“The main idea is to be generous in everything,” Hassan said.

In the past, Hassan has volunteered with local organizations, such as Victoria soup kitchen Christ’s Kitchen.

This year’s Ramadan, the imam said, has been difficult knowing what other people have being going through in places like Gaza and Sudan.

“Emotionally, it affects us. It’s a way to understand the meaning of the fast,” Hassan said. “It does not need to be a Muslim. It just needs to be a human being to feel what other people go through.”

Usama Saif and Yazen Hamoudah take a break in between prayer Monday at the Islamic center.

Mosque member Tamoor Ilyas said he has found a brotherhood with other followers of Islam in Victoria.

“We come to the mosque and shake hands with each other and live like a family,” Ilyas said.

In the past 20 years, the mosque has seen many trials and tribulations. Hassan hopes the Muslim community in Victoria continues to grow and for nonmuslims in Victoria to gain a better understanding of Islam.

“We would love people in Victoria to be more aware about what Islam means,” he said. “The people are more than welcome to join us for a meal.”

Members pray during Ramadan on Monday evening at the Islamic Center of Victoria.

Chase Cofield

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