Ahmadiyya Muslim community gets itself ready for Eid al-Fitr feast
Muslims around south Auckland are preparing to celebrate an event that's all about sacrifice, dedication, fellowship and faith.
Eid al-Fitr is an annual religious feast that marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Shafiq ur Rehman is an imam, or leader, as well as the central missionary, at the Ahmadiyya Muslim community's mosque in Dalgety Dr, Manurewa.
Rehman, who's originally from Pakistan, says Ramadan is a period of "devotion and dedication to almighty God".
It requires Muslims to fast daily, starting about 90 minutes before sunrise and ending at sunset, he says.
"Muslims don't eat or take any fluid or nourishment [during this time].
"It shows dedication and sacrifice to almighty God and benefits us in many ways.
"When you endure hunger and thirst for this period, it develops self-resistance in harder times."
As well as not eating or drinking, Muslims observing Ramadan also aren't allowed to use profanity or retaliate if someone does them harm, Rehman says.
"If a person who is fasting uses one vulgar word, it invalidates the fast.
"Even if they're provoked, they have to say 'I am fasting, so if you are harsh to me I can't be harsh to you'."
Rehman's mosque is this year marking Eid al-Fitr on June 26.
Celebrations will begin at about 9am with a prayer service.
"Men, women and children come and meet and greet each other. It's a time for celebration and jubilation.
"Most families bring food and we have a feast. Any guests also join in. It brings people together."
Following the shared meal, at about 9.45am, worshippers are encouraged to go into the community and visit people who are less fortunate, Rehman says.
"That's so they feel that people care about them and have come to talk to them. If they can, they help them with gifts."
Rehman says it's tradition on Eid al-Fitr for Muslims to take food to their neighbours and invite them over for a meal.
His mosque has been working with organisations such as the Salvation Army and Monte Cecilia Housing Trust to distribute clothing and about 100 food parcels to people in need throughout Ramadan.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at national president Bashir Khan says it's important for people to make an effort in understanding different faiths.
"This event gives our non-Muslim friends a chance to experience first-hand how we break a fast and to gain an understanding of some of the principles that make up the Islamic faith."
Ahmadiyya Muslim community's mosque in Dalgety Dr, Manurewa is marking Eid al-Fitr on June 26 and celebrations will begin at about 9am with a prayer service. All welcome.