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OC Muslim Community Welcomes Ramadan With Readjustments to Pandemic Life

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With hopes for a return to normalcy amidst the pandemic, the Orange County Muslim community and Muslims globally have welcomed the holy month of Ramadan. The sighting of the new crescent moon, an indication of the start of the month, took place on the evening of April 1 with the first fast commencing on April 2.

For 30 days during the month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and drink between the break of dawn until dusk. Prior to beginning one’s fast, Muslims partake in a pre-dawn meal known as “suhoor” or “sehri,” and break their fast with a meal known as “iftar.” 

Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, mosques regularly hosted iftar gatherings of friends, family and members of the community followed by the nightly Isha and Taraweeh prayers. However, as a result of restrictions implemented during the pandemic, Iftar gatherings were either canceled, adjusted or made to-go. Community Taraweeh prayers were modified to meet social distancing guidelines in 2020 and 2021. 

“We miss a lot of the opportunities we normally had to socialize with our community, friends, and family,” Southern California mother of three Farah Bhatti said

With a vaccination rate of over 70% in Orange County and a steady decline in COVID-19 cases, mosques in the OC community have welcomed the return of iftar gatherings and communal nightly prayers during this year’s observance of Ramadan. 

“People are really happy that they can come back to the masjid (mosque), pray in the evening, break the fast together and have an atmosphere of celebration as we used to have for the month of Ramadan, so we’re looking forward to that,” Islamic Society of Orange County Director Muzammil Siddiqi said

The significance of Ramadan for Muslims commemorates the initial revelations of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, to the last prophet, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to increase their worship, prayers and charity throughout the month.

Ramadan concludes with the three-day observance of Eid al-Fitr, or the “Festival of Fast-Breaking,” with a special prayer on the day of, followed by a celebration of food, gifts and other festivities. 

During last year’s Eid al-Fitr celebration, the Islamic Society of Orange County held two Eid prayers at different times to accommodate social distancing, followed by a distribution of food and toys to community members. 

“The tradition amongst the Muslims has been that the month of Ramadan has not been a time where we sit back but rather we do more,” ICNA Relief Southern California outreach coordinator Abdullah Zikria said.

Upholding the sacred traditions and values of Ramadan, Muslims in OC and beyond look forward to continued momentum throughout the month and the celebration of Eid.  


Mariam Hasan is a City News Intern for the spring 2022 quarter. She can be reached at mariamah@uci.edu.