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Local Muslims Cope with Hot Ramadan

Tallahassee Muslims at Ramadan
Posted at 11:00 AM, Jun 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-22 05:08:15-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- They quickly slipped off their shoes, put them on the shoe shelves and headed in.

Dozens of local Muslims went inside the air-conditioned Islamic Center of Tallahassee for an afternoon service. The temperature outside had hit 90 degrees and was still on the rise.

Thursday marked the beginning of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim faith where followers are required to fast while the sun is up.

No food, no water. And for the next month, that means fasting for nearly 15 hours every day.

"[A] person is really very tired, and, even afternoon, the afternoon showers come, [and] you're not even able to pull your tongue out and maybe lick a drop or two of rain," said Amro Abdulla, the imam - or service leader - of the mosque.

Ramadan is based on a lunar calendar, which means it's never the same time each year.

"I've seen the parts where it was in winter also, so you'd have really short days start and finish by 5:30 in the evening," said Mohd Yousuf Ali of Tallahassee.

But this year is one where Ramadan is during the hottest - and longest - days of the year.

"The small journey that I make to my car and back can be a little bit tough," said Samad Subedar of Tallahassee. "But you have to keep the big picture in mind. The reason that you're fasting is so you can understand what people who aren't as fortunate are going through, and heat is definitely one of them."

The main way they beat the heat is plenty of hydration before and after sunrise. 

"In the evenings after sunset and then in the mornings before sunrise, it's very key to hydrate very adequately in preparation," said Aamir Hassan, who works at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. "It's not too different than an athlete or a marathon runner."

"We try to rehydrate as much as we can before we start fasting in the morning," Ali added. "I drink maybe 32 ounces of water or something like that."

And aside from staying indoors and wearing light clothing, they say it takes something supernatural.

"Just ask for the help," Abdulla said. "The divine help is the most important thing."

Ramadan ends worldwide on July 17.