Reston, VA

Local Muslims are gearing up for a drastically different Ramadan this year as stay-at-home orders put an end to communal prayers only done during the month of fasting and other mosque-based customs.

The Reston Islamic Center, a small mosque that opened last year in office space near Reston Town Center (11701 Bowman Green Drive), is hoping to keep the Ramadan spirit and community spirituality alive.

The first day of fasting begins tomorrow. Muslims refrain from food and drink every day from sunrise to sunset. Every night, mosques across the country host a communal prayer called taraweeh that is only conducted during Ramadan.

Although RIC will not offer congregational prayers, the mosque is turning to virtual platforms to keep local Muslims engaged. The center is offering two classes a week and updates via its Facebook page.

“Of course, it is a drawback that we do not get to see each other and build on that community cohesion, but the silver lining is working on ourselves and our spirituality with our creator, which is the main purpose of this beautiful month,” Hewad Aziz of RIC told Reston Now.

The mosque is encouraging families to lead prayers in their homes and use quarantine time for personal introspection.

Social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders came amidst a critical time for the mosque, which recently launched phase two of its expansion project. The organization hopes to expand to two floors in the building it currently leases. The second floor would be dedicated specifically to women and families.

The mosque was banking on fundraising during Ramadan to reach funding targets. But with mosque doors closed, organizers are still hopeful they can keep the expansion project going. A crowdfunding campaign has raised $1,621 of its $45,000 target.

“We have great hope that the community will band together and we will meet our goals,” Aziz said.

Photo via Reston Islamic Center

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