How does a non-Muslim observe Ramadan in Seattle?
July 30, 2011 5:23 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a Muslim community in Seattle that could help me (a non-Muslim) understand and participate in Ramadan?

I am curious about Islam and would like to learn more than what I can find in a book or online; I'd like to experience something deeper. While traveling in Turkey this past year I became aware of just how little I understood Islam - and I was struck by just how beautiful the practice can be. Now that I am new to Seattle I want to continue learning.

I found addresses for mosques/groups in Seattle, but I do not know how to chose one to visit. I also don't really know how to approach them. I don't want to offend - but, I am not asking to be converted. Is that insulting during this most sacred month? I want to feel the spirit of the observance. I want to feel what I felt when I heard the call to worship in the evenings.

I would like to find a Muslim community that is open to curious strangers and I want to be with people who can be patient with my exploration. This would be my first Ramadan experience. I do not know if I will be able to fast (for 14 hour days?). I want to try. I want to be in a supportive community, but I really do not want to be a burden on anyone.
posted by Surfurrus to Religion & Philosophy (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
At my college campus, our MSA sometimes hosted iftars (evening meals) during Ramadan that were expressly open to non-Muslim students. They also had some sort of official "fast-for-a-day" event for non-Muslims one year, I think it was raising money for Unicef or another charitable organization. So that's something you could look around for. More generally, as the holiest month, Ramadan is a time when Muslims are encouraged to participate in charitable acts as well as fasting - one way to connect with a local community might be to see if there are any service projects/events that you could join in with.

(oh, and I'm not Muslim, btw, just was heavily involved in the interfaith community during college...)
posted by heyforfour at 7:41 PM on July 30, 2011

I have seen the group Muslims for Peace handing out flyers at local events, they might be able to send you in the right direction.
posted by nomisxid at 10:24 PM on July 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Muslim Association of Puget Sound was featured in the Seattle Times during interfaith events last year.
posted by dhartung at 11:58 AM on July 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Try St Mark's. they have a group that shares your interest and has connections with the Muslim community. Also, if you go downtown to Pike and 4th, I think, Wednesdays at noon you'll find
a pro-Palestine group of people holding placards.
posted by Paua at 12:25 PM on July 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all. I have found a group that invites non-Muslims to their mid-Ramadan 'iftar'. CAIR-MAPS are the sponsors (thank you, dhartung, for that connection). I am also planning to check in with the pro-Palestine group this week. I am still waiting to hear from a mosque in my neighborhood, but I may wait to visit them til after Ramadan; perhaps I can volunteer with them (I liked that idea).

Anyway, thanks to all of you for good ideas!

The Prophet (saaw) said,
"He who provides a fasting person something with which to break his fast, will earn the same reward as the one who was observing the fast, without diminishing in any way the reward of the latter.'' [Al-Tirmidhi]

posted by Surfurrus at 6:58 PM on August 1, 2011

Taleef Collective - Very dynamic outreach group based in San Francisco. Not very close, I know, but they also have a great website that might generate more leads.
posted by BinGregory at 7:10 PM on August 2, 2011

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