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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

Ramadan Crescent Lighting

By Jennifer Ersalesi

The Muslim community in the Borough has been working together to educate our residents about Islamic holidays, culture, and traditions. In January, the Muslim Heritage Month Committee organized a display in the Rutherford Public Library celebrating Muslim Inventors. They also held a presentation in the Library's Auditorium during which they educated attendees about the significant contributions of Muslims throughout the world.

This month the committee has focused its efforts on Ramadan, an important Muslim holiday, which will begin this month on March 11th. This is Rutherford spoke with one of the members of the committee, Ghazala Kanwal, about the Ramadan Crescent Lighting that will take place in Lincoln Park on Friday, March 8th.

TIR: Your son has been supporting your efforts to inform the community about Muslim heritage. He took an interest in finding a way to have a Ramadan Crescent Lighting in town, so he researched how to make it happen. When did your son decide to ask the Mayor and Council to do a Ramadan Crescent Lighting in Lincoln Park?  What inspired him to do so?

Ghazala Kanwal: He had a meeting on February 22, 2024. Last year many Bergen County towns celebrated Ramadan Crescent lighting.  This year my son thought he step in and take the initiative for his town.

TIR: When does Ramadan begin?  When does it end?

GK: Ramadan is according to the lunar calendar. It will be on March 11th and end on Tuesday, April 9th this year.  Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, which follows the lunar system. As a natural phenomenon, lunar months vary in length, containing either 29 or 30 days. This means that the lunar year is 10 or 11 days shorter than the solar year since months in the solar year often have 31 days. Ultimately, this means that those measuring against the solar calendar will perceive Ramadan as “shifting” a few days earlier each Gregorian year.

TIR: Can you tell us about Ramadan and its importance to Muslims all over the world?

GK: A foundational pillar of practicing Islam is fasting during the month of Ramadan. This devotional act is observed by over a billion Muslims worldwide today. Fasting is a major act of worship, and it is a powerful means of cultivating God-consciousness in the heart and mind. Fasting has both physical and spiritual benefits, including purifying the soul, inspiring self-reflection, and increasing empathy and good works. Within the month, lots of community service and good acts of kindness are valued and encouraged. 

TIR: What would you like the public to know about the Ramadan Crescent Lighting?

GK:  We would like the public to know that the Crescent Lighting is there to bring awareness to the Muslim presence in the town, while also raising awareness for Muslims throughout Bergen County, due to the numerous lightings going on throughout the month of Ramadan, starting next week. There will be food and activities and much more at Crescent Lighting, acting as more of a socializing event and a time to mark the nearing month of Ramadan.

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