By Chris McGuinness
Killeen Daily Herald
Most people wouldn't welcome going without food or water during daylight hours for nearly a month, but that's not the case for Osman Danquah.
"I'm looking forward to it," said Danquah.
Danquah, a board member of The Islamic Community of Greater Killeen, will be joining Islamic men, women and children around the world for Ramadan, a period of fasting, prayer and reflection.
Ramadan, which began at sunset Thursday, lasts from 29 to 30 days. During this time, practitioners of Islam refrain from eating or drinking from dawn until dusk before gathering for prayer and to break their fast at sunset.
"It's a time for us to exercise self-restraint, to learn to be patient, God fearing and have empathy for our fellow man," said Danquah, who said he had been practicing Islam since he was 18 years old. "It reminds us that we have a soul, a spirit and it needs to feed and nourish."
Ramadan also is a time to reflect and be grateful for what one has, and what others do not, said Danquah.
"We need to be mindful of the bounty that we have, and those who go without," he said. "When Ramadan is over, we know there will be food available, but others in the world are not so lucky."
While the fasting only lasts for the 30 or-so days of Ramadan, Danquah said the hope is that participants come away from the experience spiritually refreshed, and take the things they have learned from that time of intense prayer and reflection with them.
"It is a revitalization; the challenges and the difficulty make you appreciate things more," he said. "That's why we welcome (Ramadan). It's an honored guest that comes and visits us once a year and you don't want to be sad around your guest."
During Ramadan, people continue to assemble five times a day for prayer, which is open to anyone who wants to come.
Danquah said those who want to learn more are welcomed to visit the center, located in the 5600 block of State Highway 195, and said the best time would be 8 p.m. when people assemble for the Maghrib prayer and to break their fast.
Contact Chris McGuinness at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.