IBNA Special Report/ An observation over the month of fasting in Albania. Muslim officials, citizens and doctors offer their opinions. Politics and religion, numerous messages of peace
Tirana, July 9, 2013
Almost 1 and a half billion Muslims around the world started on Tuesday, July 9, the month of Ramadan, one of the pillars and the greatest obligations of the Muslim faith.
The start of the month of fasting is determined based on the movement of the Moon, which for all Muslims of the world conveys justice or harmonization to fully complete this important month.
What makes this month distinctive is fasting, which is done at the same time by all Muslims in the world. At the end of this month, Muslims around the world celebrate Aid al-Fitr (Eid).
Albanian Muslim Community (AMC) says that fasting offers us the possibility to have better self-control, to be in full command of our passions and our activity in relation to the others.
“Besides spiritual and moral values, fasting also bears a very big social value, that of the unification of the people between them and contribution for those in need”, says an official of AMC.
Ramadan amongst Albanians
For 24 years, from 1967 until 1991, religion was forbidden by law in Albania. This obliged believers of different religions to practice their faith in discretion. At the start of 1990, religion was spread again and fasting was legally reinstituted.
People offer their opinion
Alda is a young 28 year old doctor living in Tirana. She’s a Muslim and tries to respect the month of fasting. Speaking for IBNA, Alda says that fasting is not only an obligation toward God, but it also has health values.
“Fasting protects the body from a significant number of illnesses, improving by ten times the physiological indicator of lymphatic cells and adding the number of the cells responsible for the specific immunity”, says she.
According to her, fasting protects from fat and the dangers coming from it, such as internal and heart illnesses, general arteriosclerosis, pain on the knuckles, assimilation of vertebras, etc.
Difficulties during the summer
Even this year, the Holly Month of Ramadan is celebrated during a hot summer period, where the day is longer than the night. Muslims that fast must not eat or drink anything from dawn until sunset, thus fulfilling one of the obligations of the Muslim religion.
Erald is 22 years of age and says that he’s really eager to fast. He reminds the fact that several years ago fasting was easier.
“When the day is shorter, it’s easier, but during the summer, the high temperatures and the long periods without eating and drinking make fasting more difficult”, says he.
Health values of fasting
Fasting protects people from mental and psychic illnesses. The impact of fasting on the illness of schizophrenia has been proven. Dr. Bedawi Nikolajev from the Psychic Institute of Moscow (Russia), says that mental illnesses may be controlled and improved through fasting and diets. This method has been applied on 1 thousand psychic patients and after fasting, 65% of them saw improvements.
Albanian Muslim Community
The head of the Albanian Muslim Community, Selim Muca, has been the first to wish Muslim believers, underlining that society today needs justice and that by fasting, we become fairer.
“Ramadan is a blessed period, where believers reflect once again over their thoughts and behavior, by heeding more than ever the voice of conscience and the melody of the heart”, said Muca.
Mr. Muca also said that devotion to God is the true scope of fasting and its final objective is the happiness of man in both worlds. “We must not forget that people today need mercy. By fasting, we become more merciful”, added Muca.
The President of Republic
The Albanian President, Bujar Nishani issued a message on Tuesday, where he wished all Albanian Muslim Believers on the occasion of the start of the Holly Month of Ramadan.
“Ramadan is a supreme religious and human act with colossal dimensions. Being all inclusive and universal, the effects and advantages of Ramadan such as peace, purification, are all diffused in a harmonic way within an astonishing diapason, which includes everything human, from the spiritual aspect to the utilitarian one”, said Mr. Nishani.
Mayor of Tirana
The mayor of Tirana, Lulzim Basha wished all the Muslims of Tirana and Albania for a happy fasting.
“I hope that the noble sacrifices of this month to be turned into prosperity for all fasters, families and our country”, said he.
Basha added: “Ramadan is the month that cultivates peace, understanding and respect, therefore I wish for the Holy Month of Ramadan to serve for the strengthening of solidarity and love between people. /ibna/