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Ramadan in Moscow & Open Thread Sunday

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I spent a week in Moscow this Ramadan. At one of the main mosques in Moscow (I believe there are 4-6 total), I met a brother, Mohammed, a foreign student from Ghana, studying at the Moscow University. Like other “stranger” brothers during my trips to Paris and Moscow, Mohammed displayed true Muslim brotherhood, as he was more than willing to put his own schedule on the side, and take us (my class-mate Ahmad and myself) around Moscow.  His ability to speak Russian was invaluable because most people in Russia don’t speak English. I requested Mohammed to give me little taste of Ramadan there, and his reply is added below. While I plan to blog about my travels in more details in the future, I dropped in a few photos below.

Ramadan, a period of fast for muslims. Moscow is home to about 2 million muslims. The atmosphere of Ramadan here is well experienced in and around the masjids. Russia is largely a Christian country, so the period is not well noticed.

In my home country Ghana, though not an Islamic state, during Ramadan one can easily tell especially in the largely populated muslim regions like northern region and the zongo communities country-wide. During the period, most restaurants and food sellers dont operate.

In Moscow, the iftaars, i.e. time for fast breaking are well organized. In the various masjids dates, water and  food are provided. Among the foreigners too in various hostels, iftaars are also organized. In my hostel for example, we  group to have our iftaar too. We do invite brothers from in and out of the hostel. In a largely African-populated university called Peoples friendship university, even non-muslims are invited to iftaars.

In the mosques after one and half hours or two, call to Isha is made, after which taraweeh is observed.  In some hostels too brothers group to say the prayers together. The situation in my hostel is however different. We disperse after iftaar, saying our prayers separately. Its a bad practice that we hope to overcome.

In my home country Ghana shortly after maghrib light meals are taken after which taraweeh is said, then the major super. The reason being that if the major meals usually carbohydrates are taken, its hard to pray.

Here’s my classmate and friend, Ahmad (middle), flanked by Mohammed (his left), and Mohammed’s brother who works at the Ghanian embassy outside the mosque (as evident from the picture, it was past maghrib!)

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moscow-2.JPG

The main mosque in Moscow, called Sobornoya Mosque (translated as the Cathedral Mosque), built in 1904, sits in the backdrop of the Olympic Stadium (Moscow hosted it in 1980). You can find it listed on Islamicfinder here. A huge expansion is currently taking place (you can read about it here).

moscow-mosque1.JPG

The next one below is the second largest mosque in Moscow (sorry for the photo being a bit out of focus). I should mention that both mosques were packed at a weekday iftaar.  As one can imagine, the handful of mosques in Moscow can barely sustain 2 million Muslims, even if we assume only 10% are practicing!

moscow-mosque-2.jpg

Oh, feel free to use this space for anything else on your mind too! It’s just another Ramadan special open thread!

Related Posts:

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Md. Moshraf Hossain

    September 29, 2008 at 1:45 AM

    That’s a great work.

  2. UmA

    September 29, 2008 at 7:35 AM

    What took you to Moscow?

  3. Amad

    September 29, 2008 at 2:48 PM

    UmA: School took me to Moscow, so I had no choice really as far as timing is concerned. It was an “international study tour”

  4. Mohammed

    October 2, 2008 at 4:43 PM

    Great job Amad, baaraka Allahu fikh. I also appreciated the little tour i had with you.
    Russia needs more exposure to the outside world, so I believe your visit had an impact and i encourage brothers who get the chance to come too.

  5. Amad

    October 2, 2008 at 5:08 PM

    Good to hear from you Mohammed. Please keep us updated on things in Moscow inshallah.

  6. abdul-alim

    October 6, 2008 at 9:50 PM

    AsSalaam Alaykum,
    I was in a class (Sahih Muslim ) tonight and was thinking about you. I hope that you are doing well and had a blessed Ramadan. I hope to see you soon. (InshaAllah)

    Wassalaam,

  7. Amad

    October 6, 2008 at 10:19 PM

    wasalam
    You know Br. Abdul Alim… i am glad you put a comment here. As I was meeting new, “stranger” brothers in France and Russia, who assisted and guided me as if I was their long lost relative, I did think about you, and how you too were my first “helper” when I landed in Philadelphia almost 3 years ago. Inshallah, I too hope to see you soon.

  8. Amina

    November 27, 2008 at 11:21 AM

    asalamolleikum brothers in islam
    from far germany

    i got a mail from a unknown person from russia. but i m livilng in germany. i think she is meybe not a muslim woman. but inshallah maybe somebode of you could send this massege to a masjid from moskow and try to help a little this family.
    its time of l eid now and we muslims should do something good for them , inshallah. (when she says truth!)
    barakha allahufikum wa asalamolleikum wa rahmatuhhlah hi wa barakatuh

    here the mail from her:

    elenadd@eposta.ru

    Hi, My name is Elena, I have 31 year and I live in Russian province. I work in library and after my work I allowed to use computer when it possible.I finded your address in internet and I decided to write you this letter. I have 7-year daughter Angelina, her father abandoned us and we live with my mother. Due to the crisis recently my mother lost job and our situation became very difficult. The price for heating our home is very high and we cannot afford it anymore. The winter is coming and weather is colder each day. We worry if the temperature will become cold in our home, we don’t know how to survive. For heating our home we need portable stove which give heat from burning wood. We have many wood in our region, but we cannot buy the stove in local market because it cost equivalent of 193 Euro and very expensive for us. If you have any old portable wood burning stove, we will be very happy if you can donate it to us and organize transport of its to our address (200km from Moscow) or help us to buy it in our local market. This oven are different, they are from cast iron and weight 100-150kg. I downloaded our picture to free website and
    you can see it at:
    http://elenafdd.nextmail.ru/ourpicture.jpg

    It is not of very good quality, but it will give you idea how we look. I hope that you answer me and I pray that our situation will become better in the New Year. Elena.

    well
    in some weeks or months, inshallah , coul d ylou please send me a short massege , if someone could talk to this family and help, or not,
    i would be very thankfully for helping hand, and may allah care good for this person in dunia and in ahira inshallah
    asalamolleikum
    Amina

  9. MichaellaS

    July 20, 2009 at 10:52 AM

    tks for the effort you put in here I appreciate it!

  10. Elif Damla

    August 17, 2009 at 5:36 AM

    Here comes another Ramadhan a very blessed and holy month for us insha’Allah.
    Bro, I ve been living in Russia for 3 years now – 2 years in Moscow- and I can honestly say that I cant feel the real atmosphere of Ramadhan in here. Maybe because of what I used to see in my own country, in Turkey, at the time of this blessed month.
    Anyway Ramadhan is to be felt in our inner world, right?
    Thanks for this post, nice to hear that you were welcomed by our brothers here. Jazakallah khayran

  11. marthafines

    December 24, 2009 at 1:57 PM

    Merry Christmas to all… and to all a good night.

  12. Pingback: @ Work: Ramadan in a Muslim vs. Non-Muslim Country | MuslimMatters.org

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