Islam in the U.P. – Praying at work and at home during Ramadan

ISHPEMING — For 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, the holy month of Ramadan is a time of intense prayer, fasting, and deep introspection.

It’s a time for the faithful to feel connected in brotherhood with other Muslims as they abstain from eating, drinking, and smoking from sunrise to sunset. They do it to sympathize with the poor and symbolically step inside the shoes of those less fortunate than them.

Ramadan is a time of charity. It’s self deprivation for the sake of empathy. One of its main goals is to allow Muslims to sympathize with those who struggle with hunger every day.

“Usually you get a more cultural experience overseas,” said ABC 10’s Sam Ali. “More so, in my hometown of Dearborn. When there’s less concentration of Muslims somewhere. It’s definitely a different experience, a less wholesome experience, but you still get the same feelings, none-the-less.”

In the Upper Peninsula, Islam is not widely practiced. The Muslim population among Yoopers is unknown, growing, but small. The state of Michigan, on the other hand, has one of the nation’s highest population densities of Muslims, with nearly 20 – 25% downstate-Dearborn residents affiliating themselves with Islam.

Dearborn native and proud Muslim, Sam Ali, lives and works in the Upper Peninsula, right here at ABC 10. For him and his family Ramadan is sacred, and despite having few others to celebrate with, he practices his faith at home, and at work, religiously.

“If it’s at really good times if it doesn’t interfere with my work,” said Ali. “A lot of people here are very supportive, and they admire that I continue to practice my religion through some of the busiest work days here.”

Sam prays five times a day, and uses Ramadan as a month to cleanse and purify. He hopes Ramadan is a time is a time to kick-start better habits. He says praying at home and at work calms him. It’s a form of meditation and an expressions of his devotion to Allah.

Next week our Islam in the U.P. series we will visit with a small Muslim community living, working, and studying in Houghton, Michigan.

Work, pray, work. Every evening between the 5:30 and 6 p.m. newscast at ABC10 & CW5 UP, Sam Ali – ABC 10 Sports takes a few moments to pray. Sam allowed me to film him praying during Ramadan for our 'Islam in the U.P.' series.

Posted by Andrew Lorinser on Wednesday, June 15, 2016