AP PHOTOS: Indian Muslims observe holy month of Ramadan

AP PHOTOS: Indian Muslims observe holy month of Ramadan

NOIDA, India (AP) — Kneeling under a midday sun on mats laid over an unfinished pavement, Fakhruddin places his hands & head to the ground in prayer.

He joins hundreds of other devoted Indian Muslims in a lot surrounded by towering residential apartments outside of a Muslim shrine that has become a makeshift mosque.

Fakhruddin, 45, who operates a roadside barbershop, is an Indian Muslim & a minority in predominantly Hindu India.

p>Like many Muslims worldwide, Fakhruddin is currently observing Ramadan — a month of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting & nightly feasts. He answers some questions approximately his faith & Islam's holiest month:

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In this July 8, 2015, photo, Fakhruddin, 45, puts on a skullcap after performing the ritual washing  …

Q: HOW IMPORTANT IS PRAYER TO YOU?

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In this July 8, 2015, photo, Fakhruddin, 45, gives an Indian man a shave at his roadside barbershop  …

A: It's the core of Islam. It's more significant than anything else. I do not say that I pray five times a day & seven days a week yet I always try my best to pray wherever I am.

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Q: DO YOU ALWAYS PRAY HERE?

A: I always pray here whether it's Ramadan or not. Prayers are not mandatory only in Ramadan, yet throughout the year. Only the reward is greater if you pray in a mosque in a congregation in Ramadan

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Q: IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT RAMADAN, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

A: I wish the weather was (more) pleasant. It is very trying to swift when temperatures soar as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Farenheit). I work in the open. We pray in the open no matter how hot it gets. Allah never fails its servants.

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Q: WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO YOU ABOUT BEING A MUSLIM IN INDIA?

A: My identity. There are few visible things that a Muslim is supposed to follow, like sporting a beard, a skullcap. Other things cannot be seen, for example; being helpful, satisfactory behavior etc. But unfortunately, we are forced to conceal our visible identity. A bearded man with a skullcap is seen as a threat in India & therefore subjected to humiliation. There was a time when I moreover had beard yet had to shave it off. To be honest I am running my business here in front of the mosque so that I could feel secure.

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Each day this week the Associated Press will focus on a Muslim devotee living in the minority in the Asia-Pacific region, illustrating what the fasting month of Ramadan means to the Muslim community in that country.

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Associated Press photographers & photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo

RamadanIndian Muslims

Source: “Associated Press”

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