CAIRO – Opening doors to visitors of all faiths, a Preston mosque in Lancashire has welcomed neighbors and officials to a special exhibit on the holy fasting month of Ramadan, breaking the ice in the community.
“Muslims welcome Ramadan as an opportunity for self-reflection, and spiritual improvement,” a spokesman for the mosque told Lancashire Evening Post on Monday, May 30.
“Ramadan is also a highly social time as Muslims invite each other to break fast together and meet for prayers at the mosque.”
Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, kicks-off on June 6.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer, self-restraint and good deeds.
It is customary for Muslims to spend part of the days during Ramadan studying the Noble Qur’an.
Many men perform i`tikaf (spiritual retreat), spending the last 10 days of the month exclusively in the mosque.
The awareness exhibition was held at Masjid e Salaam in Watling Street Road in Fulwood.
The event was attended by more than 300 people from across the city, who came to find out about one of the most important events in the Muslim calendar.
The displays were loaned by Exhibition Islam, a charity that works with other organizations to help foster greater understanding between communities.
The exhibition was a chance for people to ask questions about Ramadan, but it also contained information on Islamic architecture, science in the Quran and the history of Islam in Britain.
The exhibition was praised by attendants who found a chance to meet Muslims for the first time.
“A very talented Imam Amjad drew a family tree with our names written in Arabic and explained how the language is phonetic and read from right to left, with the marks changing the sound of the letters. It was totally fascinating,” Carla Ainscough, who attended with her husband Adam and three children, said.
“We also learned about the Prophet Muhammad, with interactive displays showing what his house would have looked like.
“There was a table full of foods that all have different health benefits. We really enjoyed our morning and met some lovely people.”
Local councils attended the exhibition, including Deputy Mayor of Preston, Coun Brian Rollo and Coun Peter Kelly, cabinet member for Preston’s culture, leisure and Tourism, also attended the exhibition.
“There was such vibrancy of colors, use of calligraphy in the paintings and exhibits and it was great to view the work of Muslim artists,” Coun Kelly said.
Organizers say they were “thrilled” at the turn-out and reception.
“We were very happy with the turnout and it was an honor to host this exhibition,” Chairman of the Masjid Salaam Trustees, Ayyub Vali Bux said.
“We hope we have raised awareness about Islam and the month of Ramadan.
“It was wonderful to see people from all walks of life attend.
“I’m glad to hear visitors felt welcomed and got to see what our beautiful mosque had to offer.”