“When I first heard about the Christchurch shooting I was scared. I didn’t want to go to the mosque,” Kirnab said.
“But then I realized that’s what the people shooting actually want: they want us to be afraid,” she added.
Seeing the overwhelming support from her community, Sabilla hopes the month of Ramadan will be a chance to shift focus to gratitude and self-improvement.
“People say, ‘Oh my god, you don’t eat for a whole day? You actually can’t drink water for a whole day?’
“I’m not controlled by food; I don’t get affected when seeing others eat. It’s something I’ve worked on achieving. It’s a desire I’ve overcome,” she added.
“Sometimes it takes hunger to realize what’s really important. We take food and water for granted and we don’t realize what we have until it’s gone.”
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Hijri Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad.
During Ramadan fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations) the same phrase.
Niddal Karaki, a 31-year-old mum of three, is using Ramadan to evaluate her life and count her blessings.
“Ramadan is a time for spiritual cleansing of the mind, body, and soul — a time for forgiveness and acceptance,” she said.
Niddal works with disadvantaged school children as a learning and support officer and she hopes to inspire kids to become future leaders of our society.
After Christchurch, her own children were afraid to attend mosques themselves.
“Each week they said, ‘I don’t want to die’. It was so upsetting to think that my kids felt this way, and I was unable to do anything about it,” she said.
Niddal added it’s important to keep pushing ahead, to teach her kids to live their life to the fullest and let “love conquer hate once and for all.”
Fatima Bazzi, a 28-year-old Masters student, also encouraged Muslim communities to keep attending the mosque, despite their fears.
“Let our own communities initiate this [message of love and solidarity] by opening their mosque doors and let us hold hands in prayer regardless of our denominations,” she says.
In the blessed month of Ramadan, Moroccan Soup Bar owner Hana Assafiri said Ramadan helps Muslim people to practice transcending the need for instant gratification.
“It’s a time to interrogate our material excesses and find compassion in our hearts and minds for those less fortunate than ourselves,” she said.
Hana invites those less fortunate to join her at her Moroccan Soup Bar in Melbourne this `Eid.
“To all those who find themselves on the margins of society, who find themselves without a home, without family, without community, we invite you to come and break fast with us.”
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region. It is home to 404,500 residents, making it New Zealand’s 3rd most populous city behind Auckland and Wellington.
Due to safety fears, Muslim elders are considering canceling four large Ramadan gatherings in Christchurch.
After the massacre, many Muslims in Christchurch were scared of attending big gatherings.