CAIRO - Extending a helping hand to needy Americans, Oklahoma Muslims have specified special time to volunteer at the regional food bank to feed the hungry during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
It's very cool to be out here together, Noran Abueisheh, 15, told The Oklahoman newspaper.
We know it's important for us as a faith to get out and give back and so this feels nice.
Abueisheh, 15, was one of more than 130 Oklahoma Muslims who volunteer Saturday at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City.
Feeling the pains of those in need, fasting has prompted these women to give back to their community.
Abueisheh, a Westmoore High School student, gathered with other Muslims at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, bagging rice from a huge box into individual packets.
She said she felt good to get out and serve her community.
Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, started in North America on Tuesday, July 9.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds.
Fasting is meant to teach Muslims patience, self-control and spirituality, and time during the holy month is dedicated for getting closer to Allah though prayers, reading the Noble Qur'an and good deeds.
The majority of Muslims prefer to pay Zakah for the poor and needy during the month.
Volunteering at the food bank kicked off a larger campaign from an American Muslim advocacy group to help Oklahoma needy.
We saw a need, Othman Ghanma, 16, said. We just want to help.
Sponsored by the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Oklahoma Muslims Care campaign is designed to coordinate volunteer opportunities for Oklahoma Muslims.
It also works to show Muslim pride in their state through giving back.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma provides enough food to feed 90,000 Oklahomans each week, said Dennis Hollenback, the volunteer coordinator for the Regional Food Bank.
More than 675,000 people wonder where their next meal is coming from, he said.
It's important to have all the volunteers we can to help, and it's great to see so many young people here to help with that.
Although there are no official figures, the United States is believed to be home to between 6-8 million Muslims.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net