With Ramadan just days away, Preston’s newest mosque opened its doors for an awareness exhibition.
More than 300 people from across the city attended Masjid e Salaam in Watling Street Road in Fulwood, to find out about one of the most important parts of the Muslim calendar.
This year the month-long fast is set to begin on June 7. During this time, Muslims will fast from pre-dawn until sunset, as a means to grow in “God-consciousness and moral excellence”.
The fast of Ramadan entails forgoing food and drink, and if married, abstaining from sex during the fasting hours.
For Muslims, Ramadan is a time to train themselves both physically and spiritually by avoiding any negative acts such as gossiping, backbiting, lying or arguing.
A spokesman for the mosque said: “Muslims welcome Ramadan as an opportunity for self-reflection, and spiritual improvement.
A very talented Imam Amjad drew a family tree with our names written in Arabic and explained how the language is phonetic and read from right to left, with the marks changing the sound of the letters. It was totally fascinating.Carla Ainscough
“Ramadan is also a highly social time as Muslims invite each other to break fast together and meet for prayers at the mosque.”
Some people are exempt from the fast, including young children and the sick.
A large part is also donating for good causes to develop empathy towards less well-off.
The exhibition was a chance for people to ask questions about Ramadan, but it also contained information on Islamic architecture, science in the Quran and the history of Islam in Britain.
Adam and Carla Ainscough from Preston attended with their three children.
Mrs Ainscough said: “A very talented Imam Amjad drew a family tree with our names written in Arabic and explained how the language is phonetic and read from right to left, with the marks changing the sound of the letters. It was totally fascinating.
“We also learnt about the Prophet Muhammed, with interactive displays showing what his house would have looked like.
“There was a table full of foods that all have different health benefits. We really enjoyed our morning and met some lovely people.”
The displays were loaned by Exhibition Islam, a charity that works with other organisations to help foster greater understanding between communities.
Local councillors including Deputy Mayor of Preston, Coun Brian Rollo and Coun Peter Kelly, cabinet member for Preston’s culture, leisure and Tourism, also attended the exhibition.
Coun Kelly said: “There was such vibrancy of colours, use of calligraphy in the paintings and exhibits and it was great to view the work of Muslim artists.”
Organisers say they were “thrilled” at the turn-out and reception.
Chairman of the Masjid Salaam Trustees, Ayyub Vali Bux said: “We were very happy with the turnout and it was an honour to host this exhibition.
“We hope we have raised awareness about Islam and the month of Ramadan.
“It was wonderful to see people from all walks of life attend.
“I’m glad to hear visitors felt welcomed and got to see what our beautiful mosque had to offer.”
From September 8 to 11, venues across Preston are set to take part in the National Heritage Day campaign, and Masjid e Salaam is yet again hoping to open its doors, allowing people to visit the landmark building.