Saturday, November 13, 2004

Wappingers recognizes Muslim holy day

Students are allowed time off

By Erikah Haavie
Poughkeepsie Journal


WAPPINGERS FALLS -- For Muslims, it was the holiest of Fridays.

And for the first time, Muslim students in the Wappingers district had the day off and were able to use the day for prayer.

The last Friday of Ramadan -- the holy month marked by fasting from sun-up to sunset -- is one of the top five holy days for Muslims, said Aziz Ahsan, a Hopewell Junction attorney and spokesman for the Mid-Hudson Islamic Association.

The importance of the day prompted Muslim parents to approach Wappingers school officials about giving students the day off.

The Wappingers district, the largest in Dutchess County, did so and acknowledged the two Muslim festivals, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha, on the district calendar for the first time this year, Ahsan said.

District officials could not be reached for comment. While students didn't report to school, Friday was used as professional development day for teachers.

Father, son attend

Shakil Syed and his 9-year-old son, Shayan Hasan, participated in a 35-minute prayer service at Masjid al-Noor on All Angels Hill Road in Wappingers Falls. Hasan attends Sheafe Road Elementary School.

''All prayer is important,'' but it's especially important during Rama-dan, Syed said.

Ramadan is a month for ''more blessings,'' said Farah Baksh, a 15-year-old who attends Roy C. Ketcham High School.

It is also a good time to reflect on those less fortunate, said Baksh's mother, Bibi Yasui.

''When we are fasting, we especially try to enlighten ourselves,'' Ahsan said.

Cousins Falasteen Jamal of John Jay High School and Rhaida Jamal of Rhaida Jamal of Ketcham High School came together to the Friday prayer service with about 700 others at the Wappingers mosque.

With the day free, the two cousins prayed, listened to the Koran on tape and bought clothes and gifts for family for Eid-ul-Fitr.

Ramadan culminates in Eid-ul-Fitr, a festival that marks the end of fasting.

Eid-ul-Fitr for Muslims could be likened to what Christmas is for Christians, Ahsan said. It's a time for prayer and also a time to get together with family, eat and exchange gifts.

''Every single day (of Ramadan) is important,'' said Akhter Shareef, who brought his three sons with him to the mosque for Friday prayer. ''It brings you closer to your religion.''

Erikah Haavie can be reached at


August 22, 2009


Ramadan urges reflection

During month, Muslims fast from dawn to sundown

By Michael Woyton
Poughkeepsie Journal

WAPPINGERS FALLS - Throughout the mid-Hudson Valley, Muslims have begun observing the holy month of Ramadan.

Imam Muhammad Asil Khan of Masjid Al-Noor mosque in the Town of Wappinger said they will follow the tradition of trying to see the new moon after sunset, which signals the beginning of Ramadan.

Fasting, he said, is a significant part of observing the holy month.

"According to the Koran, fasting is compulsory as it was for those before you," Khan said, meaning the Jews and Christians.

"Through fasting, you become closer to Almighty God," he said.

The date of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, changes because it is based on the lunar calendar.

Finish meal early

During the holy month, Muslims abstain from drinking and eating from dawn to sundown.

"You must finish your meal before the first light of the dawn, and then you do not eat or drink anything all day," Fishkill resident Aziz Ahsan said.

He said the first light today is 4:26 a.m.

"You have to finish eating before that time," Ahsan said.

Prayers are recited during the day, with the goal of reciting the entire Koran by the time the month ends, he said.

Khan said the month of the fast, along with making donations and helping others, is hopefully carried forward.

"The month of training, especially the social training, has to be implemented in the rest of your life," he said.

Abdul W. Sajid of Town of Poughkeepsie said the daily fast, which can last 16 or 17 hours, gives Muslims a chance to reflect on what they have and what others don't.

"You come to know how somebody who is hungry is feeling," he said.

Sajid said fasting is not as difficult as it sounds.

"Trust me, it is only your thinking," he said.

Khan said the ideals behind Ramadan can be related to those who do not observe.

"These are values to be shared with others," he said. "They have to be respected."

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Monday, November 15, 2004

Muslims celebrate Ramadan's end

Local service has record turnout

By Rasheed Oluwa
Poughkeepsie Journal


Click to enlarge
Karl Rabe photos/Poughkeepsie Journal
Adnaan Moin, left, of Newburgh, and Mohammed Tariq Khan, center, of the City of Poughkeepsie, pray Sunday with Muslims gathered for Eid-ul-Fitr, marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Click to enlarge

Umar Lassic of Newburgh offers prayers Sunday.

Local Muslims gathered in the Town of Poughkeepsie Sunday morning to mark the end of Ramadan.

About 3,000 people attended a prayer service at Casperkill Country Club to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, one of the holiest months of the Islamic calendar.

Ramadan celebrates the prophet Muhammad re-ceiving the first verses of the Quran, Islam's holy book. Muslims are re-quired to fast during this period. By contrast, the three-day Eid-ul-Fitr is marked by large family gatherings and gift giving.

Shahid Jabid, 44, of Wappingers Falls, said he planned to spend the day with family members from New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

''This is our major celebration,'' Jabid said. ''This is a time for us to accept the blessing of Ramadan. The blessing is always there, but the time of Ramadan carries a great blessing.''

Eid-ul-Fitr begins with the sighting of the new moon, but that is subject to change depending on what part of the world the viewer is in, the weather and any celestial events that can influence visibility. That's why some Muslims in other parts of the world begin Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations today rather than Sunday.

Aziz Ahsan, a spokesman for the Mid-Hudson Islamic Association, said the turnout for this year's event was the largest ever.

''We had to delay our prayer service because there were so many people,'' Ahsan said.

Special time for young

Ashraf Jamil, 17, a Town of Poughkeepsie resident and a member of the local chapter of the Muslim Youth of North America, said the celebration is an especially exciting time for Muslim youth.

''This time, the Eid celebration begins around the same time as Christmas,'' Jamil said. ''It's tough sometimes when you see all the other kids celebrating during Christmas and you feel left out.''

Aaqib Majeed, an 11-year-old Newburgh resident, said he woke up at about 5 a.m. in anticipation of Sunday's celebration.

''I was really excited,'' said Majeed, who fasted for 25 days during Ramadan. ''I got a lot of presents.''

Sakina Quabri, 19, of Wappinger, said the event was one of the biggest social gatherings of the year.

''For me, it was a great time because I got to meet everyone and talk to people I haven't seen in a year,'' she said.

Rasheed Oluwa can be reached at