By Katya Yefimova Herald Writer
LYNNWOOD — Hundreds of Muslims in Snohomish County this month emerged renewed and refreshed after the holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan can be described as a spiritual boot camp, said Irfan Chaudhry, president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Lynnwood. He gave a sermon Sept. 10 during the Eid al-Fitr celebration, which marks the end of the holy month.
Observers are required to fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. They abstain from food and water for about 15 hours per day and often go on four or five hours of sleep per night. They pray and read chapters from the Koran daily.
Daily prayers already are part of practicing Islam, but many people find themselves practicing more diligently during Ramadan. Some people are exempt from fasting, including those who are ill or pregnant.
About 200 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community gathered to celebrate Sept. 10. In the women’s half of the mosque, friends greeted each other before the prayer. Many were dressed in colorful clothes for the celebration.
Nudrat Mir, 26, of Lynnwood, wore a white and blue shalwar kameez, a traditional Pakistani outfit consisting of pants and a long shirt.
Humere Bandey, of Mill Creek, usually wears Western-style clothing in her daily life. She wears traditional clothing when she comes to a mosque.
Tehmina Ali and her husband, Alam, live in Redmond but attend the Lynnwood center for its philosophy.
“There’s a lot of humility within the people here,” Tehmina Ali said.
The couple, originally from Pakistan, work for Microsoft and have three children.
The Ahmadiyya Muslims believe in the Messiah of the Latter Days. This branch of Islam originated in a small village in India in the 19th century and spread to millions of people around the world, Alam Ali said.
Other Muslim communities around Snohomish County celebrated the end of Ramadan as well. About 1,000 people gathered Sunday for a carnival in Lynnwood, organized by the Muslim Association of the Northwest.
Part of Eid al-Fitr is to enjoy traditional food — such as savory lamb and chicken dishes and a Pakistani dessert of noodles with sugar and milk — and to spend time with friends and family.
Fasting during Ramadan is hard work, but it strengthens the spirit, said Yahya Danso, who goes to the Islamic Center of Everett.
“You don’t let food or your desires control you,” he said. “The human brain is very powerful. Whatever God prescribes for you, your mind is supposed to be able to handle.”
Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452, firstname.lastname@example.org