One spoon at a time, Abdirahman Mukhtar finished his plate of rice and chicken Wednesday afternoon at the Geeljire Grill in the Palestinian-owned Karmel Square mall in south Minneapolis.
“This will be my last daytime meal for the next 30 days,” Mukhtar said with a big smile. “No food or water for long hours.”
Thursday marks the beginning of Ramadan, a month of fasting from dawn to dusk with deep reflection and intense prayers for Muslims throughout the world.
In Minnesota, Mukhtar and more than 150,000 Muslims will have to endure summer’s longer hours and hot temperatures, which could make observing Ramadan more challenging.
And it might bear specific challenges for Muslim athletes, like the youth soccer team that Mukhtar coaches every Tuesday and Thursday at Currier Park in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.
“It could be hard on these kids,” he explained. “It’s going to be difficult for anybody to be very active while fasting.”
Difficult or not, Mukhtar was quick to say that it’s an exciting time for Muslims everywhere to see this month. “It’s a blessing to be able to live this month,” he said. “It’s a month of forgiveness, humility, humbleness, charity and reflection.”