Naperville Muslim community comes together to celebrate Ramadan

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“I think Ramadan is a time to detox. You know, it’s so easy to get on with our daily lives doing what we do, but Ramadan really forces you to kind of slow down, take into perspective what you’re doing and the reason why you’re here, and that you can actually do away with a lot of things that you normally do,” said the Jakvani family.

The Significance of Ramadan to the Naperville Muslim Community

The Jakvani family is among the more than 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide who observe the annual tradition of Ramadan each year. One of the five pillars of Islam, the holy month of Ramadan, centers around prayer, reflection, and community. In addition, traditions of month-long fasting and abstaining from external sources of pleasure are seen as ways to cultivate self-discipline, empathy, and a stronger connection with Allah.

“Islam is all about peace, peaceful existence, not destroying that thing that Allah created the world, his people. It’s all about preserving life and living your best life in doing no harm, and that, to me, is what Ramadan is,” said Eugenia Gooch.

“My parents told me that when you always pray, you get more health.”

The holy month includes coming together with family and friends. When the day’s fasting period is over, many gather at local mosques for Iftar, a meal eaten right after sunset during Ramadan that includes homemade cuisine.

“Just before breaking fast, every day, you know, breaking fast time moves like a couple of minutes earlier. So everybody waits around and gets together around the table. Any other day it’s a little bit different, but during Ramadan, you know, coming together as a family, for me personally, I love it,” said the Bazarov Family.

“One of the many good things about it is that there’s so much gathering, there are so many family gatherings with family and friends,” said the Manners Family.

Islamic Center of Naperville brings Muslims together outside of Ramadan

The Islamic Center of Naperville (ICN) is where many local Muslims gather together at mosques during Ramadan and all year round.

“So the Islamic Center of Naperville is more of a community center where people from all ethnicities and diversities come, and people have been coming here. It’s more like a family-oriented thing. We have activities for kids of all ages. We have activities for seniors. It’s a fun place to be,” said Jabeen Shaik.

The Muslim community continues to have an ever-growing presence making up more than five percent of the Naperville population.

“Being in Naperville and over the years where people are just more aware where you don’t have to answer, not even water like people know what Ramadan is, what a fast is, and what it entails, you know that representation does matter, and it helps with that sense of identity,” said the Jakvani Family.

The month of Ramadan concludes on April 20, which then kicks off the festivities of Eid al-Fitr, where people come together to celebrate through gift-giving, festive meals, and prayer.

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