Montclair Muslims adapt to loss of community gatherings for Ramadan
COURTESY RENY TOBING
by Gwen Orel
Ramadan, the month of fasting for the Islamic faith, began on Thursday, April 23, and lasts through Saturday, May 23.
During the holiday, Muslims do not eat during the day, and break their fast after the sun goes down.
Kevin D. Amin, the imam of Masjid Al-Wadiud in Montclair, described the holiday as one of the five pillars of Islam, which are:
- Faith: “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is His prophet.”
This year, Ramadan is a little different.
The practice of Islam is the practice of community, Amin said. Social distancing has made that different.
“Everything is totally the opposite. Instead of gathering in groups, we’re doing it with our families. Instead of traveling to the mosques, we’re staying in our homes. Even the weekly communal prayer has been suspended, because of coronavirus,” he said. Usually, Muslims would invite one another over for a meal or congregate in the mosque.
“It’s a challenge,” Amin said. “You have to reorient your entire approach to Ramadan. It’s especially going to be felt at the time of the Eid, when everyone is required to come to where the Eid prayer is offered. That is not going to be possible this year.”
However, his faith is not shaken. “Since Islam is a way of life that you practice, this is just a new way to implement your requirements that are put on you by Allah,” he said. “We look forward to trying to adapt to these new situations. If we stay patient and do the best we can, we’ll be rewarded.”
Right now his daily job as a CPA is keeping him exceptionally busy.
For his own break-fasts, Amin keeps it simple, and often uses a crockpot, with carrots and celery and chicken and rice.
Muslims often get their meat at the butcher rather than the supermarket. Some go to a butcher in Paterson who does his own slaughtering.
So while this recipe for a break-fast from Reny Tobing uses a leg of lamb, it would not be a difficult one for Muslims to make even now, when so many find shopping a challenge.
Slow Roast Leg of Lamb in Moroccan Spices
9 lbs. leg of lamb
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. ginger and garlic paste
2 tbsp. Moroccan spices
4 tsp. paprika powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. turmeric powder
2 large onions, sliced
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
With a sharp knife make three deep pockets on the lamb.
Rub olive oil all over the lamb.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
In a bowl mix together the lemon juice, yogurt and the rest of the spices into a thick paste. Slather the paste all over the lamb. Make sure it gets into the pockets, too.
Put the sliced onions in a roasting pan and place the lamb on top. Cover the pan with a cling wrap and marinate for 4 hours or overnight.
Bring the lamb to room temperature and pour in the beef broth. Pour from the side of the pan.
Set oven to 285 degrees.
Peel off the cling wrap and cover pan with aluminum foil.
Bake in oven at 285 degrees for 8 hours.
Make a simple pan gravy with the liquid from the roast.