30 MORE | Night 24 – Guest Blog Post: Ramadan in Kingston 1443 – Islamic Centre of Kingston – By Mona N. Rahman, PhD

By Mona Rahman, PhD | Kingston, Ontario

Ramadan in Kingston has always been about the community coming together.

From the days when the Islamic Centre of Kingston (ICK) was just a dream, to the days in which the masjid has been full to capacity in the last nights of Ramadan, we have always come together as a community for weekly iftars, nightly Taraweeh prayers, special Ramadan programs including overnight programs for children and for youth.

It is a month in which we strengthen the bonds between ourselves as Sisters and Brothers whilst seeking that spiritual high.

That all changed when the COVID-19 pandemic broke.

For the past two years, Ramadan has been a very different affair.

When usually we would look forward to seeing friends and family every night, we were no longer able to go to the masjid to listen to the beautiful recitation of Qur’an by our Huffadh.

We could no longer gather for iftar.

The children and youth missed their I‘ttikaaf programs.

We tried to connect with online programs from our own masjid but also with learned Shuyukh all over the world, giving us access to so much, although isolated from others.

Alhamdulillah, living in a multigenerational home allowed our family the chance to pray Taraweeh together every night after listening to Imam Abubakar Mulla’s “Tafseer Snapshot” online.

Each night, my father led ‘Isha prayer, while the next two generations took turns leading parts of Taraweeh for our 6-member Jama’a, a wonderful opportunity for my sons.

Muslim Children’s Circle shifted online to weekly Sunday Story Time.

Youth events also shifted online though were able to shift back to in person outside and finally, when vaccinations spread, back to the masjid, albeit with masks.

But, despite all the efforts, it wasn’t the same, because we were isolated from each other.

This Ramadan, as things finally started to open up, the masjid was able to hold Taraweeh prayers at long last.

The excitement could be felt from every generation.

My 12-year-old asked,

“Mom, can I pray with my friends?”

Masha Allah, the tie to the masjid is still there.

Most people arrived early for Salat-ul-‘Isha, probably in order to greet each other before the prayer.

The air was almost electrifying.

While we had been open for Jumu’ah for quite some time, you could feel and hear the excitement on that first night of Taraweeh.

It was the excitement of Ramadan and being able to share it with each other.

As we listened to our first Tafseer Snapshot in person after two years, and quickly filed into line to pray, it was the loud “Ameen” of the young child in the Saff that truly made it feel like Ramadan again.

Throughout the month, we have held two overnight programs for children, as well as for Youth Sisters and Youth Brothers.

This weekend at the Youth Brothers’ program, they had two discussions, played games, took time to read Qur’an, and even prayed Qiyam-ul-Layl, taking turns leading before Suhoor.

This week we will have overnight programs for Sisters and then Brothers.

It feels like Ramadan again, although there are some differences: with some masking, others not; some bringing prayer mats, others don’t.

Community potluck iftars have resumed but, as a family with elders in the house, we have chosen not to participate, given the rising COVID numbers.

Though I feel blessed to have been able to pray with my family, led by my sons, nothing can compare to joining with my Brothers and Sisters in Islam, listening to recitation of Qur’an, night after night, from the first page to the last.

While the numbers have waned during the weekdays as ‘Isha gets later and later, I look forward to the full house, with the masjid brimming with grandparents, parents, youth and children, as we finally reach Surat an-Naas on the day of the khatm.

Apparently, there will be ice-cream, Insha Allah.

Appeal:

After two years of COVID-19 restrictions, it was truly in Ramadan that we were reminded that our community has outgrown the masjid.

Alhamdulillah, after several hurdles, we were finally granted a building permit to start digging, though we were delayed due to COVID-19 and, of course, winter.

Alhamdulillah, the permit was extended to July 2022,

And we are now in full fundraising mode to raise the deficit of $500K in order to get our shovels into the ground and start the ICK Expansion Project.

Multiply your rewards during these final blessed nights of Ramadan and consider contributing to making our children’s’ dream a reality

Please consider donating to the ICK Expansion Project at: www.kingstonmuslims.ca/donate

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