Togolese Muslims begin spiritual preparations for Ramadan
Togolese imams urge Muslims to abandon bad habits, share with the poor and engage in prayers

Muslims in Togo are busy preparing for the holy month of Ramadan. They are increasing their prayers and are reading more Quran, hoping to start the month of fasting with spiritual strength.

"For the past several months, I have been planning to go through this with fasting and prayer to come closer to God," Mohamed Awali, a 35-year-old Togolese Muslim, told Anadolu Agency in front of Lome Grand Mosque. "I will read the Quran more and multiply my good actions. I will implement everything the Prophet [Muhammad] counseled us to do."

Togolese imams reminded the Muslim community that fasting is an obligation for every Muslim who has the ability to do so.

"When we pray as a family, we are strengthening the spiritual values of all, especially children," said El Hadj Moustapha Mohamed, deputy imam of al-Khair Mosque. "We also urge children seven years old and above to fast until noon, so they understand the importance of Ramadan and the spiritual meaning of this month."

Awali also said that the mosque's administration will try to "ensure that women can have more seats at the mosque during this period."

Another major event during Ramadan is the final phase of the national Quran recitation contest.

The event will be held at Lome Congress Hall on July 5, Salifou Kalim Yaccoubou, spokesman of the Association of Togolese Muslim Students, told Anadolu Agency.

"We want to show the world that Islam advocates living together since the time of the Prophet, who lived with Jews, Christians and Gentiles without any problem," Yaccoubou said. "Today we are Muslims, we must come to reach this state of mind and tolerance which allowed the Prophet Muhammad to live in peace with other faiths."

"Thirty seven candidates are expected to attend the final stage [of the Quran contest] including several foreigners, including Benin," Yaccoubou added.

Tairou Yonus, a student at the University of Lome and a participant at the recitation contest, said they mostly practice at night.

"Sometimes we start at 10 pm and stop at 3 am," Yonus said. "This is a critical phase that requires a lot of preparation and concentration to recite well on the big day."

With a population of more than six million, Muslims in Togo make up over a third of the nation's citizens.

Last Modified: 2015-06-17 08:53:53
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