A day in the life of Muslims during Ramadan in NW China

A day in the life of Muslims during Ramadan in NW China
Chinese Muslim pilgrims.
PHOTO: Reuters

Ramadan is an important religious festival and Chinese Muslims are no different to any other followers of Islam around the globe.

Those in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Northwest China, such as a master worker getting up early in the morning; an imam becoming better off through his diligent work and a dedicated football coach, are hopeful about the future.

Here we meet some Muslims and find out what they do on an ordinary day during the month of Ramadan when they are required to fast between sunrise and sunset.

Yang Jie, an Imam in Hutubi county: busy helping his village become better off

In Hutubi county, Hui autonomous prefecture of Changji, unlike a traditional imam Yang Jie is a "fashionable" one. Although his 1.3 hectares of land have been put onto land conversion market, he is still busy helping religious people in his village get rich.

Yang is not only the representative of traditional religion, but also a transmitter of modern culture. The 49-year-old has been an imam for 23 years. Among religious people in Changji, Yang is esteemed as one of the most fashionable imams: he was first to drive a motorbike, first to put TV in his office, first to use a mobile phone, first to drive a car and first to open a weibo account.

Except for attending religious services in the mosque, Yang spends most of his time answering phone calls, checking his WeChat, visiting rural tourist enterprises and helping low-income families.

Yang said it is necessary to introduce local rural tourist enterprises to neighbouring scenic spots. Five tourist enterprises are open and six more under construction in Sangonghu village, he said.

Yang organises many WeChat groups to exchange economic information with villagers.

Because it is Ramadan, more people are visiting the mosque and Yang says they would share iftar (the evening meal after sunset) together after the isha (night prayer).

Ablikim tursun in Hami city: a Happy naan maker

Ablikim tursun has to get up at 4:30 am and mix flour for the preparation of naan bread, that comes in a large, round, flat pieces widely eaten in Xinjiang province.

Two hours later he starts to make naan for his customers who form a queue in front his shop, so he has to be fast.

Although he has been running his shop since 1999 and has to do the same job every day, he lives a happy and comfortable life.

He enjoys talking with his customers about trivial details of their lives and knows most of their names.

"Although it is Ramadan, my business is still good," he said, adding that there are many Han people near his home and they are his main customers.

Ablikim said that because of his naan, he started to have an association with strangers and even make friends with them.

Football coach Akbar salay in Atushi city : let more children' s football dreams come true

Akbar salay got up at 7am to train schoolboys for a coming football match in Artux on July 20.

Artux city is the home of football in Xinjiang. Everyone loves to play it and Akbar became a football coach in an elementary school. Now he had 30 youngsters in his squad. Every morning he invites them to have breakfast at his home and in the afternoon he helps them in their studies.

"Six of my family members are devoted to football," he said. He wishes that with his work, more children's football dreams may come true.

Many of his students have been enrolled into the best local high schools. One is now playing for a professional football club in Xinjiang.

"I wish I can cultivate more football talents, and I wish Chinese football could go further," he said.

Maytursun maysadi, a peasant in Yutian county: a dream for a better life

Maytursun maysadi got up at 5 am, and the rain did not stop in the small village where he had been sleeping.

He got up early with his wife to load sheepskins onto his truck. Then he left, heading to the Hetian wholesale market before 9 am. After that, he would load 150 cases of fruits before driving back to Yutian.

He made 1,400 yuan from the job. He used to do the journey once a week now he runs his business every day.

He said it was because he had moved into a new home, sponsored by the local government, which only cost him 25,000 yuan.

There was a festive atmosphere in his house - he used red carpet, a red sofa cover and red curtains to decorate the new house. He said: "I am very happy after moving in and I wish life would be better."


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