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Religion Briefs

Saturday, October 16, 2004


Isle Muslims focus on Ramadan's spirituality

Muslims in Hawaii and the rest of the world are turning away from physical pleasures and focusing on their spiritual selves as they begin the month of Ramadan this weekend.

Adults fast from food and drink, smoking and sex from dawn to dusk during this month, which marks the revelation of the Quran, the Islamic scriptures, to the prophet Mohammed in the sixth century.

The rigorous fast is what captures the imagination of outsiders, but Muslims focus on the positive at this holy time, said Rashid Abdullah, information officer for the Muslim Association of Hawaii. It is a time of extra prayers, charitable giving, reflection and communal meals each evening to break the fast.

Members will gather nightly at the Manoa mosque for the "taraweeh," or night prayer at which a portion of the Quran will be recited. "By the end of the month, we will have completed the entire book," said Abdullah.

Despite the fact that calendars showed the appearance of the new moon Wednesday, thanks to precise science of astronomy and mathematics, Ramadan does not officially begin until the crescent is actually sighted without the aid of a telescope. That's why the beginning and end of Ramadan can vary from one country to another.

"We do it this way because that was the practice of the prophet," Abdullah said.

Modern Muslim life to be topic of lecture

A history professor and member of the Honolulu Islamic Center will discuss "The Muslim World Today" in a lecture Thursday at Leeward Community College.

The free talk by Karim Khan will be sponsored by the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council. Khan will speak at 10:30 a.m. in Room LA 227.

Call Tandy Awaya at 944-7784 for information.

Dinner to highlight faith in hateful times

The spiritual and emotional turmoil people might face during a time of religious and political extremism will be explored this evening in a talk at the annual dinner meeting of Interfaith Alliance Hawaii.

"Being Faithful in a Time of Hate and Violence" will be the topic of the Rev. Gwynne Guibord, chairman of the national Interfaith Alliance. She is ecumenical officer for the Episcopal Church's Los Angeles diocese and past president of the California Council of Churches.

The event, at 6 tonight at Honpa Hongwanji Betsuin Hawaii, 1727 Pali Highway, is open to nonmembers. Tickets, which include a vegetarian buffet by Govinda's, are $10 and may be paid at the door.

The Rev. Yoshiaki Fujitani will be master of ceremonies.

Bahai Faith celebrates key holiday with event

Members of the Bahai Faith will host a program Tuesday to celebrate a key holiday of their religion.

The 7:30 p.m. event at the Honolulu Bahai Center, 2165 10th Ave., will feature devotions and music, followed by refreshments. It is open to the public.

The holiday marks the birth of a 19th-century Persian teacher who used the name the Bab, which means "the gate." His teaching is considered the precursor of the message of Baha'ullah, who founded the religion in 1863. The religion teaches the oneness of God, religion and all humanity, and that world peace and unity is inevitable.



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