So. Utah Muslims commemorate end of Ramadan; STGnews Videocast, Photo Gallery

CEDAR CITY — Before the morning sun peeked over Cedar Mountain Friday, Muslims from Cedar City and St. George gathered in the Cedar City Mosque to pray, worship and celebrate the Eid al-Fitr tradition of breaking the fast at the end of Ramadan.

Islamic Eid al-Fitr celebration, Cedar City Mosque, Cedar City, Utah, July 17, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News
Islamic Eid al-Fitr celebration, Cedar City Mosque, Cedar City, Utah, July 17, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

Men gathered in the front room, while women and small children congregated in a room at the back of the Mosque, located at 59 N. 100 West in Cedar City. Shoes were piled at each entryway so worshipers’ bare feet connected with the floor beneath them, honoring the holy ground on which they prayed.

Dressed head to toe in their best clothes, each man, woman and child’s excited and joyful disposition rippled through the mosque as prayers began the morning’s events.

A table along the south wall of the building was covered in food. Goodies like cookies, croissants, candy, muffins, nuts, chips and drinks were piled high on the table, to be shared communally after prayer for the breaking of a 30-day fast that includes the prohibition of food and drink from sunup to sundown.

“The fast is not just about food,” St. George Muslim Baheej Barrouza said. “Everything in this life has a start and has an end. And between these periods where you are born, where you are dead, have this gap of working, worship … do good deeds and do good things.”

Islamic Eid al-Fitr celebration, Cedar City Mosque, Cedar City, Utah, July 17, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News
Islamic Eid al-Fitr celebration, Cedar City Mosque, Cedar City, Utah, July 17, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

In a way, Ramadan is a practice month for how the whole year should be approached, Barrouza said, and Eid al-Fitr is a day of reward for the sacrifices of the fasting period that precedes it.

It is important during this period that a practicing Muslim gives up anything that may be a bad habit or is regarded as sinful, he said — habits like smoking and drinking and basically anything unhealthy that one is doing to one’s own body or imposing on others.

One personal example Barrouza shared was anger. For him, it is sometimes a struggle not to be angry when others say things that are hurtful or demeaning to him, he said, but during Ramadan it is important not to succumb to these angry feelings and to focus on kindness instead.

After Cedar City Muslim and Southern Utah University professor Hussein Samha led the prayer, he spoke to the congregation before him about the importance of family. Eid al-Fitr is a day of reconnecting with family who are nearby and far away, he said, and he encouraged attendees to call their mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters to express their love and gratitude to them.

Islamic Eid al-Fitr celebration, Cedar City Mosque, Cedar City, Utah, July 17, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News
Islamic Eid al-Fitr celebration, Cedar City Mosque, Cedar City, Utah, July 17, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

“The family in every culture is the building unit of society,” Samha said, “so it’s the building brick of the wall. So if that brick is strong, then the wall is strong. And the same thing when you look at it from the society point of view: If the family is strong and well-defined and well-raised, then you have a strong, faithful society.”

When prayers were over and Samha’s talk had ended, the women in the back, who were still quietly praying, tending to children or taking selfies to commemorate the occasion, stood and hugged each other, wishing each woman in the room “Eid Mubarak,” or “Happy Eid.”

The men, in turn, rose and embraced one another, shaking hands and kissing each other on the cheek in a congratulatory hello in recognition of their monthlong sacrifices.

Filtering out of the building and into the parking lot for food and beverages, the men lined rugs against the wall in the only shaded spot to be found and broke bread together.

An abundance of celebratory laughter filled the air as coffee was poured and sweets were shared before all who attended began drifting away.

Islamic Eid al-Fitr celebration, Cedar City Mosque, Cedar City, Utah, July 17, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News
Islamic Eid al-Fitr celebration, Cedar City Mosque, Cedar City, Utah, July 17, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

The Mosque is a place that welcomes all, not just worshipers of Islam, Samha said. Though their prayers and celebrations are sacred, he said, that does not mean others who are non-Muslim should exclude themselves from activities.

“It’s open to the public,” he said. “If someone would be interested to come and watch listen and see what’s going on, we welcome you.”

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

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Email: cmiller@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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25 Comments

  • holger July 17, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    “…do good deeds and do good things”. I suppose their colleague in Chattanooga did not get the memo? Or perhaps it is code.

  • wilbur July 18, 2015 at 8:24 am

    how many of them are on welfare?

    • 42214 July 18, 2015 at 12:20 pm

      Probably not as many as your brothers and sisters in Colorado City and throughout Utah.

  • Real Life July 18, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Huh. I thought the way to celebrate the end of Ramadan was to run into a building full of people with a backpack full of dynamite.

    • Chris July 18, 2015 at 11:26 am

      Yeah, like how Mormons celebrated the end of sacrament meeting by murdering women and children at Mountain Meadows.

      • Simone July 18, 2015 at 11:46 am

        or marrying children as young as 14, the wives of other men while they were still married to those men and using God as an excuse for 100+ years of blatant racism.

  • sagemoon July 18, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Seriously? People are going to hold the actions of one nut job in Tennessee against all Muslims in Utah? Give me a break.

    • wilbur July 18, 2015 at 11:36 am

      That’s how gun owners are treated after one psycho-medicated young kid goes crazy and shoots people in S.Carolina.

      • Simone July 18, 2015 at 12:00 pm

        Yea Wilbur, calling for tighter gun laws that will more then likely lessen the chance of another nut job killing 9 people in a church by making those guns harder for those said nut jobs to get is totally the same as saying stuff like “how many of them are on welfare”? or ““…do good deeds and do good things”. I suppose their colleague in Chattanooga did not get the memo? Or perhaps it is code”, Or my personal favorite so far “Huh. I thought the way to celebrate the end of Ramadan was to run into a building full of people with a backpack full of dynamite”.

        • wilbur July 18, 2015 at 1:37 pm

          Over 25,000 gun laws on the books in the US. Do we need more? and will they work any better? Not likely.

  • AnnieMated July 18, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Carin,

    Thank you for this story. It’s nice to read something nice (and true about Muslims) in the Utah news for a change. ♥

    • KarenS July 18, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      Agreed, good article. It is good to know more about the Muslim community. With 1.6 billion (that’s Billion, folks) Muslims in the world we should recognize that the vast majority of followers are good and decent people.

      • 42214 July 18, 2015 at 1:17 pm

        Would this be a better world with 1.6 billion Muslim as or 1.6 billion Mormons? Interesting question.

    • izzymuse July 18, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      Ya, I wasn’t aware of there being a Muslim community in So. Utah. Interesting.

      • wilbur July 18, 2015 at 1:35 pm

        Yeah, you will be as their numbers increase. Believe it.

        • 42214 July 18, 2015 at 2:13 pm

          They can’t breed faster than the mo’ s breed.

          • Simone July 18, 2015 at 7:32 pm

            hmmm sounds like a good show… a devout Muslim mother vs a Mormon sisterwife. Who will win?

  • radioviking July 18, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Some sad and troubling facts about Muhammad: practiced polygamy (one wife was as young as 9 years old!), built a religion on Arabian Pagan God, Allah and the black stone at Mecca, and most unfortunate set an example as a warrior leader.

    Facts are undeniable (even Muslims acknowledge (and even justify) his marriage to young girls = pedophile?): http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2012/sep/17/muhammad-aisha-truth

    .
    Sorry, but any religion based on teachings which promote certain ideals can not be from God. If we have to justify things committed by Muhammad by taking his life in “historical context”, then we have to ask why God goes by social whims of men!
    [And yes, I pose the same concerns with Mormons, etc.]

    • fun bag July 18, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      That’s why right now over in IRAQ and Syria you have ISIS muslims turning 9 year old little girls into sex slaves, because good ol’ prophet Muhammad said it was ok. I think Islam is probably the single most evil belief system one can find in modern times, and I have no respect for people that believe in such ludicrous garbage. There may have been a time when muslims were less evil, but that’s long passed…

  • SteveSGU July 18, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    On topics like this, lots of idiots come out and comment. Realize that many of the comments here don’t generally represent how the population of Southern Utah feels about these things.

    • 42214 July 18, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      who appointed you the spokesman?

  • Real Life July 18, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Yep. Steve is right. Because Islam is the religion of peace, understanding, and acceptance of others. Women are especially held in high regard by Muslims. Yep. Islam, building bridges here in Southern Utah.

  • fun bag July 18, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    They have an even worse persecution complex than Momo’s, but at least Mo’s haven’t resorted to blowing themselves up, and probably muslims could breed as fast or faster than Mo’s TBH. Just look at Pakistan….

  • izzymuse July 18, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Live and let live. I respect cultural diversity and keeping a safe, peaceful, and pluralistic society as long as each individual’s rights and property are protected. There are many great Muslims – as there are great Christians, Jews, and Atheists. As long as people are not harming others, let them worship as they choose. I would like to learn from my Muslim neighbors. God bless.

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