BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Billions of Muslims across the world are fasting the last few days of the holy month of Ramadan.
Friday night was Day 28 of the 30-day fast, which will come to an end this weekend, depending on the new moon sighting.
7 News' Pheben Kassahun caught up with the Buffalo Muslim Center's Imam, Abdul Muhaymin to learn more about Islam and to change the misconception of the peaceful faith.
"Ramadan is basically a blessed month. A month of fasting for Muslims from all over the globe," Sheikh Abdul Muhaymin said.
The world's total Muslim population tops 2 billion people, and is the second largest religion in the world. By 2030, this number is expected increase by 35%, according to the Population Reference Bureau.
During the 30-day fasting period, Muslims observe this fast from early dawn to sunset, which is about 15 hours.
In some countries, the length of fasting hours during the day varies, due to the time zones and locations of when and where the sun sets.
The final 10 days of Ramadan are considered the most significant because Allah, or God, is blessing people more during this time.
"Ramadan actually came to teach us to be more tolerant," Imam Muhaymin told Kassahun. "We stay without food and without water. One of the main reason is to feel hungers and to feel sympathy for others."
When the sun sets, Muslims partake in iftar, which is basically a feast, followed by a lighter dinner before the evening's prayers.
This week in Buffalo, iftar began when the sun set just after 8 p.m.
"One of the main reason why we fast and observe fasting is to get spiritually uplifted, and mentally and physically strengthened," Imam Muhaymin said.
"I am Imam and I am very grateful to be Imam. As an Imam, I have to kind of lead the community, especially with the religious border and what we have to do and what you not have to do. It's my duty to connect the people and be connected with the people," Imam Muhaymin said. "Sometimes it's not that easy because there are a lot of things to do, but of course at the end of the day, it's worth it."
As Muslims enter the final days of their holy month of Ramadan, Imam Muhaymin hopes viewers can take away this message:
"What we usually see on social media and the other news, unfortunately, there is a lot of misconception and there is the propaganda about Islam," Imam Muhaymin explained. "Islam actually teaches us to be peaceful and to be kind to others."
Depending on the new moon sighting, Eid al-Fitr is expected to be this coming Sunday or Monday, according to Mohammed Maruf Ahmed, who is one of the founding members of the BMC.
On the day Eid al-Fitr is observed, the day starts with a prayer, followed by greeting and then a feast with friends and relatives.
Younger children receive gifts in the form of money, known as Eidi, while adults receive gifts.
The attire for Eid consists of putting your best clean clothes forward, and must be ironed properly.
To those who follow the Islamic faith, have a wonderful Eid Mubarak to your friends and family!
For the first time in 30 years, Christians, Jews, and Muslims shared a sacred holiday on April 16. These sacred holidays were Good Friday, Passover Seder and Ramadan, respectively. There were also Buddhist, Jain, Hindu, and Orthodox Christian holidays being celebrated this month.
For a better understanding of the Islamic faith and how to share faith with Muslim friends, click here.