Muslims in Durham Region prepare for the start of COVID-19 restriction-free Ramadan

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WATCH: Muslims in Durham Region are looking forward praying in larger groups, and breaking fast together this Ramadan, COVID-19 restriction free – Apr 1, 2022

Waqqas Syed is praying the obligatory prayer Muslims perform when entering a mosque.

With a COVID-19 restriction-free Ramadan beginning this weekend, he expects Quba Masjid in Ajax to be filled with Muslims doing the same.

“We are so excited because we are getting back to life again. We are waiting for this month of Ramadan desperately,” says Syed, the president of the Islamic Society of Ajax.

The month of Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide, starting and ending with a crescent moon sighting.

Read more: Toronto Muslims ready to celebrate Ramadan together after COVID restrictions lifted

For 30 days from sunrise to sunset, those taking part fast, pray in close proximity, and have iftaar — to break fast — together.

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But Muslims say the pandemic has affected the tradition.

“From the last two years it was like jail, people were very stuck in their homes, especially our seniors,” Syed says.

Syed says Ramadan this year is seemingly back to normal with social gathering and capacity limits lifted.

He says usually about 300 to 400 people have iftaar at Quba masjid when the sun sets.

“If you are doing it alone then it’s very difficult to do it. But if everyone is doing it then it’s very easy.”

Read more: 2nd pandemic Ramadan is a time of hope and sadness for Canadian Muslims

Muslim students at Ontario Tech University are looking forward to balancing their studies with fasting.

“Growing up, Ramadan was one of the most fun times of the year,” says Usmaan Malik, the president of the university’s Muslim Student Association.

Malik says the association is offering support with getting accommodations if needed.

“We do have a written message to send to professors saying, ‘This is iftaar time, I won’t be able to do this assignment, is there any other time that works for this assignment,’ along with that you can contact in regard to having exams on those days during iftaar,” Malik says.

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Ramadan celebrations will start Saturday and are expected to end in early May with Eid.

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