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Breaking Fast as Family

Sterling residents fast during Ramadan

Hakeem Bisyir, 10, and Fadeelah Bisyir, 7, ran around the dining room table before dinner Thursday. Hakeem Bisyir counted the minutes until iftar, or dinner time. "Six more minutes," he said.

Faizah Badeges placed dates, cucumbers and rice on the table, and called her family to eat minutes before 7 p.m. "Hakeem is fasting for the first time this year," she said. "He does not have to, but he insisted." His cousin, Fadeelah, fasts for three hours a day. "She is just starting to learn," Badeges said.

To pass time between school and iftar, Hakeem said he like to take naps. "He reads the Koran and has to handle his emotion," Faizah Badeges said. "He can not fight with her [Fadeelah] too much."

FAMILY MEMBERS gathered around the food, to eat for the first time in more than 12 hours. "We eat before sunrise," Badegas said. "We know what time to eat based on the lunar calendar."

Her husband, Said Bisyar, pointed to a chart on the refrigerator. The chart listed the dates and times of when to eat and pray, according to the moon. "I printed it off the Internet," he said.

The family filled their plates with white rice, topped with scrambled eggs. "We break fast with dates," Said Bisyar said. "Mohammed broke his fast with dates. It is not mandatory, but it is tradition."

Hakeem cleaned his plate and helped himself to a bowl of ice cream and a cinnamon bun.

After dinner, the family prayed together. Said Bisyir led prayer. His family lined up behind him. They faced toward Mecca, Islam’s holy city and the birthplace of Mohammed. During prayer, the family, including Hakeem and Fadeelah, stood, knelt and bowed together. Hakeem came to the front of the living room and led a portion of the prayer.

AFTER PRAYER, the family sat on the floor and talked about earthquake victims in Pakistan and the homeless around the world. "When the kids ask for big toys, we remind them of kids who do not have toys," Faizah Badeges said.

Said Bisyir reminds his oldest son, Hykel Bisyir, about volunteering at the ADAMS Center on Saturday.

"The next prayer is at 7:50 p.m.," Faizah Badeges said. "Before prayer, Said Bisyir tells stories, talks about the prophet [Mohammed]."

Said Bisyir and his wife will begin another day before sunrise. They will do so until Eed, the last day of Ramadan. "We start at 5 a.m.," Faizah Badeges said. "He [Hakeem] wakes up at 5:30 or 5:40. I ask him what he wants for breakfast. This morning, he said ‘egg roll.’ He eats breakfast at 6 a.m."

"Fasting is mandatory for people who can fast," Said Bisyir said. "If you cannot pay with fast, you have to pay with money. You have to feed one poor person a day for everyday you cannot fast."

Said Bisyir said it is easy to fast because there is food at the end of the day. "At least you can get some sense of what it is like," he said.